Browsing Tag

lifestyle

Fashion

My fave fish recipe

17th May, 2020

Having been cooking virtually every meal at home over the last few weeks I’ve been relying a lot on tried and tested family favourites to make getting a meal on the table every night a little easier. It’s just good to know that everyone will like what’s on the table and there won’t be any dramas with what’s been served up. Enter this fish recipe (see above for the finished product). I shared it on Instagram a few weeks ago and had some requests for the recipe, so I’m sharing it here. I swear by this dish, as it’s one of the rare times I can get Luke to eat fish! It’s healthy, quick and easy and I highly recommend giving it a go.

Ingredients

1 knob ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1 long red chilli (you can leave this out if you don’t want the heat)

1 bunch spring onions

1 bunch of broccolini or green vegetables of your choice

2 cod fish fillets

olive oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari soy sauce)

2 tsp honey

Jasmine rice for serving

Optional: extra soy sauce, sliced chilli and coriander for garnish

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced.

2. Cook rice.

3. While the rice is cooking, finely grate the ginger. Mince garlic. Finely slice the spring onion. Finely slice the long red chilli (if using).

4. Trim broccolini (or green veg) to get it ready for later.

5. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, long red chilli (if using), spring onions, soy sauce, honey and a drizzle of olive oil and mix well. This forms your marinade for the fish.

6. Place large squares (around 30cm) of aluminium foil onto an oven tray (one per person). Divide the broccolini between the squares and top with the fish fillets. Spoon the marinade over the fish and vegetables and fold in the foil to form parcels. Make sure you fold the parcels tight as that will keep the steam in and help the fish to cook.

7. Pop the fish parcels on an oven tray and put it in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. 

8. Place rice on plate. Open up the foil parcels and top the rice with the veggies and steamed fish. Spoon over any remaining juices from the parcel.

9. For extra kick, I like to add a little extra soy and chilli on the fish once plated. I also top it with a few coriander leaves. Bon appetit!

Lifestyle & Social

What’s getting me through the week

8th May, 2020

It’s all about getting back to basics right now and as a result it’s the simplest things that are bringing a little brightness into my days. I’ve been embracing cooking, spending time with my family and also ensuring I’m incorporating some exercise during the day which has made another week of being in iso just that little bit better.

My slow cooker

I know I might be late to the party on this but I recently got a slow cooker and it has been amazing! I got one by Russell Hobbs and it has been such a great addition to the kitchen. It’s made getting a yummy dinner on the table easier and quicker in amongst home schooling and running my business, as I can quickly pop something on in the morning and by the evening it’s ready to go.

Australian Women’s Weekly slow cooker recipe book

To accompany my new favourite appliance I had to enlist the help of this great cook book. It features so many great recipes and so far I have tried making Mexican pulled pork, Hungarian goulash, Thai chicken curry and my husband’s favourite – American ribs. Can’t praise this book highly enough as cooking at home for almost every meal has meant needing to have plenty of dinner inspiration at the ready and this doesn’t disappoint. 

The Last Dance

This docuseries featuring Michael Jordan and the 90s Chicago Bulls is consistently topping Netflix’s list of most watched shows so we decided to check it out and it has quickly become a fave in our house. I was a huge fan of MJ as a little girl in the 90s as my brother used to watch all the Chicago Bulls games when we were kids and it has been great to relive all those moments and check back with some of the iconic players of the era.

Horse riding with my girls

Even during isolation we have been luckily enough to be able to ride and exercise our ponies. It’s so amazing to get out in the fresh air and be with these incredible animals. It’s one of the things I absolutely love doing with my girls, and it’s nice to see that they’ve also developed a love of horses.

Exercising during the week

Every weekday morning I try and get out of the house by myself for a run and some exercise. My husband and I tag team—he goes first and then, when he comes back to be with the kids, I head out. It’s only for about 40 minutes but it’s a great way to start the day. I also mix it up with Fit For Dreams Zoom classes, especially when it’s raining. 

Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

Stephanie Conley’s tips for easy cooking at home during isolation

4th May, 2020

With a successful career as a fashion designer, with the likes of Naomi Watts and Kim Cattrall wearing pieces from her eponymous label, Stephanie decided to follow a different path, one that would allow her to follow her passion for food. Having studied at the Le Cordon Bleu and a brief stint in catering, she decided to start her blog, The Hostess. The hugely successful site is now where Stephanie is able to share her love of food with the world. From her favourite recipes to helpful entertaining tips, Stephanie’s aim is to make cooking and hosting friends and family a fun, exciting and enjoyable experience.

With all of us now having to self-isolate, and with more time spent at home, it means we’re all getting very acquainted with our kitchens and cooking is on the cards every night. To help make getting dinner on the table nightly an easier but also tastier exercise, I turned to Stephanie to share her top tips for quick, easy cooking that will still impress.

Get organised at the start of the week

“Thinking of a new dish to cook every night for the family can be a challenge. Make no mistake that cooking and the time it takes to get a meal on the table is not a quick fix. I always say the only way to combat this is to be organised. At the beginning of each week take the time to sit down and work out your menu for the week ahead, you can be ahead in what you need to buy which will give you more time to do other things rather than continuously go to the market to pick up food.”

Stock your freezer

“I always have a few things in the freezer that I can easily take out and defrost. If you can make two of something and freeze the other you can have a cheat day!”

Set a time limit

“When thinking of meals to cook, choose weekly dinners that can be prepped and cooked in around 30-45 minutes. More involved recipes should be for the weekend or when you can take your time and enjoy the cooking process.”

Stephanie’s new cookbook At Home with The Hostess will be available this week

Experiment with condiments

“Focus on experimenting with salsas and sauces that can add flavour quickly and using lots of fresh herbs. Fish tacos are a great way to get the kids to eat fish, make a simplified version for them then spice yours up with a quick salsa and cabbage slaw. I always have meatballs in my freezer and the kids love them with pasta but I like to add black olives and chopped parsley to mine and have a rocket and fennel salad.”

Stock up on the basics

“Have a pantry stocked with the basics such as oils, vinegar, dried herbs, spices, nuts, grains, beans and pasta. Look to these pantry staples for inspiration. Other great ways to simplify your cooking is to gravitate to recipes that can be cooked in one pot or meals with 5 ingredients, it takes the pressure off  and they are quick and easy to pull together.” 

Have go-to weekly dinner options

“Some of my favourite weekly dinners are fish tacos with fresh salsa, meatballs in tomato sauce, beef stroganoff, roasted veggie bowl with freekeh, seared salmon nicoise and beef burgers with homemade pickles. We love to have a BBQ which is very simple but I always make great sides of salad and veg to keep it interesting. I like to focus of fresh produce and home cooked simplicity.” 

Fashion

Cook at home with the world’s best chefs

15th April, 2020

With many restaurants closed right now, that has left many of the world’s biggest names in the culinary world with a little more time to focus on cooking at home. Lucky for us, they’ve let us join along! With some of the Australia and the world’s most esteemed chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Yottam Ottolenghi and David Chang now sharing their fave recipes and even doing live demos on their Instagram accounts, there’s never been a better time to be an amateur cook. Tap into their expertise and you may walk away from self-isolation with some flashy new cooking skills, and a lot of new favourite recipes.

Christina Tosi

She’s an awarded pastry chef, the founder of Momofuku Milk bar and often called the queen of desserts so if you’ve got a sweet tooth don’t miss Christina Tosi’s baking club. She manages to create some pretty epic desserts using simple pantry staples so you’re going to be well covered for this entire quarantine period.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-7pm5HpexS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Hamish Blake and Ben Shewry

You can bet anything with Hamish Blake is going to be wildly amusing but enter Ben Shewry, founder and head chef of Melbourne’s Attica which has frequently been named one of the best restaurants in Australia and was in the top 20 in the world and you’ve got yourself and you’ve got one of the most watchable cooking partnerships around. Together they’re teaming up to make date night meals on Instagram Live so be prepared for a great meal with plenty of laughs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-6pqZMFKQn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Gordon Ramsay

If you want a quick meal on the table in 10 minutes and fancy cooking you alongside Gordon Ramsay then get into #Ramsayin10. The meals he prepares are all family friendly and features easy to find ingredients so give it a go if you want dinner on the table fast.

Dan Hong

Dan Hong is the chef behind dining heavyweights such as Mr Wong, Lotus and Ms G’s and his at home cooking videos—complete with his three adorable kids making cameos—are relatable and easy to follow. He made cheeseburgers in the below video, but he’s also done rigatoni alla vodka and XO king prawn linguine.

Massimo Bottura

When else will you be able to cook along with a three-Michelin star chef and the man behind the Osteria Francescana, the restaurant named the best in the world in 2018? Massimo Bottura is doing a kitchen quarantine series which has already featured faves such as tiramisu, mac and cheese and gelato, and he’s pretty entertaining to watch too.

Matt Moran

Chef and restaurateur Matt Moran is doing warming recipes perfect for this time of year on his IGTV channel so why not take advantage of the expertise of one of Australia’s best chefs and whip yourself up a delicious, restaurant quality meal at home.

Eric Ripert

French chef Eric Ripert is the owner and head chef of Le Bernadin in New York City which holds three Michelin stars and regularly features on the list of the best restaurants in the world. Not only does he have some really useful how-to videos such as how to preserve vegetables but there are plenty of tasty meals including ratatouille, crepes and a roasted leg of lamb that is sure to impress.

David Chang

Momofuku founder David Chang is a chef, author and TV presenter and his culinary dispatches from his New York City apartment are one way to learn how to utilise whatever you may have in your pantry or fridge. He regularly offers substitutes for ingredients even prepares food using a microwave.

View this post on Instagram

Far from being authentic, sort of a hybrid of aglio e olio of Naples & the Shanghai classic…scallion oil noodles. Actually, the only thing really Italian about it that I used thin spaghetti noodles and I added garlic. Think of it as the OG mazeman. I love aglio e olio too!! But scallion noodles has a special place in my heart. The best version of scallion oil noodles I had was made with rendered pork fat at Gary’s local spot in Shanghai. I’m not sure which region uses dried shrimp, but I’ve not had that version in China but only in America. I love how so much of Shanghainese food is sweet and salty. way more sweet to me than anyplace else. this doesn’t take many ingredients to make but I also didn’t have every ingredient so I improvised and it came out great. I don’t make this that often because it can get kinda messy with oil splattering and it will change the smell of your apartment into burnt alliums for a solid week but it’s so worth it. If you get the balance right I think the one of the best dishes anywhere. I rarely have dried shrimp on hand but I almost always have a bag of frozen shrimp. I’m pretty positive no one has made it with frozen shrimp that was microwaved then blitzed in a magic bullet then braised. all hail the magic bullet. By end of the month I will have expended all of my kitchen hacks. This is a good day to use up all your saved bacon fat reserves. Great dish for quarantine Oh and for the pasta snobs I made it with barilla and it tasted fucking amazing Just like my nonna used to make. Buon Apitito!!!

A post shared by Dave Chang (@davidchang) on

Jason Atherton

English Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton is doing an at home cooking series with classics such as rhubarb and apple crumble to Eton Mess and burgers. The best bit is you’ll have plenty of new recipes up your sleeve post-quarantine.

Dominique Ansel

French pastry chef and the inventor of the piece of heaven that is the cronut, let Dominique Ansel show you how to whip up a mean dessert including truffles and crepes.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-kVcKiHt6Z/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Yotam Ottolenghi

Tasty, comforting dishes are what Ottolenghi does best and he’s now doing a quarantine series that features his recipes along with other chefs. All the dishes shared are tasty and hearty and the kind of dishes we all need right now.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-2A88fH5sJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Fashion

How to have a great Easter in self-isolation with kids

10th April, 2020

With social distancing rules in place we face a much different Easter this year. There are no big family gatherings or going away for the weekend, as we’re all asked to stay in our homes and minimise contact with others. Given kids generally look forward to this time of year (particularly the chocolate!), why not try to maintain as many of the traditions that you can, or alternatively start new ones. Embrace the Easter egg hunt, take a ‘trip’ and still partake in a gorgeous family lunch (albeit virtually), and enjoy this time of year.

Have a virtual family Easter lunch

Just because we can’t enjoy big family gatherings right now doesn’t mean you can’t still maintain the tradition of having Easter lunch with family. Simply co-ordinate a set time to sit down for a meal, pop everyone on a video call and have the next best thing to having everyone sitting around the table.

Arrange an Easter egg hunt

There’s definitely no rule saying you can’t do Easter egg hunts so go ahead and embrace this tradition. Stock up on plenty of eggs, arm the kids with their own baskets and set them loose. Note: if you find really good hiding spots this could keep them occupied for awhile…

Get baking

Join the rest of the world in totally and utterly embracing all things baking right now. There are endless recipes to try, particularly with kids, but if you’re going to maintain the Easter spirit why not try baking your own hot cross buns?

Arts and crafts

A quick Google search will unearth more than enough craft projects to keep the kids entertained for the long weekend. From bunny hats to baskets and baby chicks, you’ll have more than enough to occupy the little ones in your life, and also inject a little extra Easter spirit into your home.

Go indoor camping

If you can’t go away over Easter as you usually would, why not go on a ‘trip’ anyway? The novelty factor of being able to sleep somewhere different is something we all enjoy so why not just set up camp in the backyard or indoors. Bring plenty of snacks, watch movies and do something to break up your daily routine. This is one activity kids will particularly enjoy.

Set up an indoor picnic

What kid doesn’t love a picnic? Prepare a picnic lunch, pop a rug in the living room or outdoors and enjoy a picnic as you normally would, but with the convenience of not actually having to leave your home.

Fashion

How to set up the ideal work from home space

2nd April, 2020

Having had my own business for several years now I usually split my time between an office in the city and my home office to work. Given current circumstances I’ve had to re-assess my current work space at home to make sure it’s conducive for working from home for the forseeable future. And as the girls are currently home with us, it’s been important to ensure that my work space is set up to maximise productivity in the bursts of time I do get to sit down at my desk and power through my to-do list. Here’s what I’ve done to ensure I’ve got a functional space I actually want to spend time in.

Allocate a designated work area

Last year I took over a spare bedroom in our home to use as an office, before that I was working wherever I could pop my laptop down. I’ve noticed a difference in how it affected my productivity. Now that I’ve got a designated spot to sit it helps get me into work mode. However it wasn’t having an office that did this but the fact I finally had one assigned place I associated with working. So whether it’s your kitchen table or another room, try allocating a particular spot to work from and consider it your office for the next few months.

Look for good lighting

I’ve found good lighting is so important because there’s nothing worse than squinting at a screen because the light is too bright or not bright enough. If you can, try and set up near the best source of natural light in your home. If that’s not possible make sure that you’ve got a good overheard light or lamp to provide adequate illumination.

Get rid of clutter

I did a major decluttering session to help set up my office and it was really useful in ensuring that I had a clean desk space, free of unnecessary junk to work at. I find having too many things around is really distracting and having an area that’s free of clutter helps to get me into the right productive frame of mind.

Have comfortable seating

Having a good chair is crucial. If you’re going to be working for several hours in the one spot find yourself the most comfortable chair, with appropriate support in your home possible. You don’t want to find that you’ve done your back in after sitting in a bad chair for months.

Have the office basics covered to ensure you’re functional

One thing about working in an office is that there’s a steady supply of stationery and equipment to ensure that you can do your job. Try and emulate that as much as possible at home so you’re not scrambling for a notepad when you’re on a call with a client or your screen is just a fraction too low and it’s starting to get massively uncomfortable. Assess your space, see what you need and try to have those supplies around where possible.

Lots of organisational tools

I’ve found it’s so much easier to keep things ordered when I’ve got the appropriate organisational tools handy. Think storage boxes, folders, trays… all these things ensure that I’ve got a spot to put everything and I don’t have things just floating on my desk taking up space.

Dot your space with things you love

This is the fun part! It was important to me that my office had personality. So I’ve decorated with prints that I love, furniture that I find aesthetically pleasing and touches like a vase of flowers or snacks at the ready. This all inspires me to spend time in my work space, but of course it’s different for everyone. Curate your own space according to the things that motivate you and inspire you.

Fashion, Lifestyle

How to declutter your wardrobe

26th March, 2020

One of the things I commit to doing fairly regularly is going through my closet and reorganising. However one thing I commit to at the start of every season is doing a big decluttering session. That means I go through everything to properly reorganise and take stock of what’s in there, and I’m constantly surprised at what a small percentage of my wardrobe I end up wearing simply because I’ve forgotten about pieces I own.

With a little extra time up our sleeves at home right now there’s no better time to do a complete wardrobe overhaul. I’ve always found there’s something quite cathartic about cleaning out one’s closet as it allows you to take stock of what you own and pinpoint what might be missing from your wardrobe. So, are you ready to clean?

Take out everything

Firstly in order to thoroughly do a thorough stocktake make sure you take out everything in your wardrobe so you can inspect every single garment. This process will obviously take quite awhile so be prepared to devote plenty of time to it in order to do it properly (I promise you’ll feel better afterwards!).

Be ruthless

My husband is notorious for hanging onto things like t-shirts that he never wears with a million holes through it and I’m always the one who says it has to go! I don’t have a very big place so space is a big commodity and I know the importance of a good edit as far as my wardrobe goes.

I have one basic rule I stick to: if I haven’t worn something in over a year then it has got to go. I think that’s a really good indication of how crucial something is to your wardrobe; if you’ve made it through all four seasons you haven’t once taken it out once then there’s usually a 100 per cent likelihood that you won’t wear it again.

Also if something is damaged and beyond repair or is looking really tatty it’s probably time to say goodbye to it. You want your wardrobe to be filled with pieces that you love and are functional.

Divide and conquer

As you’re decluttering separate your clothes into piles: one to keep, one to donate to charity and one to alter or fix. Take the time to try on everything and be brutally honest about its place in your wardrobe. Don’t rush this part as this is often how you will end up hoarding things rather than parting with garments that aren’t getting used as you’re not thoroughly going through your closet.

Organise and categorise

I will pair like with like so skirts with skirts, dresses with dresses, t-shirts with t-shirts and so forth. I also have a small section in my wardrobe specifically for the clothes that I wear all the time so things like my jeans, favourite leather pants and go-to tees. This is so I don’t have to rifle through everything else each time I’m looking for something and mess my wardrobe up.

See what needs fixing

Now is also the time to check out your shoes to see if they need resoling or fixing. Along with your shoes gather all the garments that need to be altered or fixed and do it all in ONE go. It’s important to do it at once because if you try to do it gradually it will become quite a tedious process and what should be an easy exercise will just drag on and you risk ending up with a pile of clothes that you’ll get to eventually and it will in turn just eat up valuable space. The upside of doing this is that you’ve essentially got new pieces in your wardrobe.

Rotate your wardrobe according to seasons

If you have the luxury of other space in your home then pull out pieces that currently aren’t in season and store them away. I pop things in space saver bags and stack them up in another closet. Once it’s time to bring them back I pull those clothes out and replace them with other clothes that are no longer in season. This helps free up space and also means I don’t have to wade through super summery dresses in order to get to my winter jumpers.

However if you’ve got no space to do this, I would recommend just reorganising so that the current season’s clothes are more accessible. Put all the things you need to access easily at the front and move the things you don’t currently need towards the back. This will make figuring out what to wear so much easier in the morning.

What are some of your tips for doing a wardrobe spring clean?

Fashion

My favourite places to dine out in Sydney

26th February, 2020

Living in Sydney, I’m really spoilt for choice with the incredible dining scene on offer. Whatever the cuisine you’re craving, you’re almost guaranteed to find it and there’s never a shortage of a great new spot to check out. I’m particularly lucky in that I’m able to check out so many great restaurants for work, whether it’s for an interview or the setting of a product launch or event. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few spots, but here are a few places that I’ve visited more than once and will definitely come back to again.

Breakfast

We’re always up early with the girls so heading out for breakfast is a favourite activity, particularly on the weekend. We love staying local, but there is one spot that we’ll definitely travel to.

Bathers’ Pavilion

I’ve been going to Bathers’ Pavilion for as long as I can remember but it has recently undergone a refurb making it even more of a favourite local haunt. You can’t beat the setting and the food is top notch.

Boathouse Balmoral

This is walking distance from where I live so it’s a fave spot for coffee and breakfast. It gets incredibly busy throughout the day so we always like heading down there early for a relaxing start to our day.

Burnt Orange 

Located in Sydney’s Mosman this restaurant located in a gorgeous spot surrounded by greenery and is such a tranquil place to enjoy a lazy breakfast.

Bills 

I love Bills so much that we even made a point of going to there for breakfast when we were in Hawaii. Closer to home there are a few locations to choose from around Sydney, but whatever you do, be sure to try the ricotta hotcakes. It’s heaven!

Lunch

Is there a better relaxing activity than a long lunch with your favourite people? These are some of my go-tos whether it’s a meal with my family or friends.

Fratelli Paradiso

I love Italian food and Fratteli doesn’t disappoint. Located in Sydney’s Pott’s Point it has a warming and hearty menu that always leaves my tummy feeling very happy.

Totti’s 

There’s much to love about this restaurant in Sydney’s Bondi. The food’s great, the location even better. Plus they’ve recently opened an outpost in the CBD, which is also worth checking out.

Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

Icebergs is an icon and a Sydney dining institution. The view of that outdoor pool is what Instagram dreams are made of and enjoying a long lunch with the faint scent of salty sea air is just heavenly.

Bert’s 

It’s a bit further out of Sydney, but Bert’s in Sydney’s Northern Beaches is one of the best places to have lunch in town. The dining room is elegant and sleek and the food is modern, adventurous and has so many interesting and unique flavour combinations that you’ll be planning your next visit before you even finish your meal.

Dinner

I love getting dressed up and going out to a lovely dinner and when it comes to evening meals there are some truly beautiful spots in Sydney to enjoy. These are some of my favourites.

Restaurant Hubert

Descending into the dimly lit restaurant, you’ll feel like you’ve been instantly transported to Paris. The atmosphere, the food, the setting, it all perfectly works together to create the idea place to while away an evening with friends.

Alberto’s Lounge 

Any place that has great Italian food will always at the top of my list. The menu is simple but oh-so delicious. Be sure to come with an appetite.

Mr Wong 

It has been around for years but I think you can’t beat Mr Wong if you want insanely delicious Chinese food. The only thing is trying to decide what to have on the menu— I always find it so hard to make up my mind because I want to try everything!

The Apollo

If you’re in the mood for great Greek food then Apollo is most definitely the place to go. It’s casual and relaxed and the food is perfect for sharing it’s a fave of mine for catching up with friends.

10 William Street

Tucked away in Sydney’s Paddington this bistro is small and cosy and a great spot for settling in for an evening with a glass of wine and a lovely meal. If you like Italian food, you’ll make add this spot to your list.

Sake

Sake do amazing Japanese food in a modern restaurant setting and is a great spot for special dinners.

Sushi E

Settle in for a great fine dining experience at this Sydney spot. They do gorgeous Japanese cuisine and each piece is its own little work of art.

Mimi’s 

This spot has just opened so there’s a lot of buzz around it and for good reason, the Mediterranean inspired menu featuring one mouthwatering seafood dish after another, plus the ultra pretty coastal setting make for the kind of restaurant experience that you know you’ll have to do again and again.

Lifestyle

My tips for decorating a home when you have kids

15th February, 2020

As most people with kids will attest, decorating a home comes with its own new considerations once little ones enter the picture. Everything from sticky fingers being wiped down on the couch to trying to grab everything in sight means that you have to take these things into account with your colour scheme, your furniture and home decors. Of course, having older children gives you a little more freedom to decorate as you wish but when it comes to younger kids, this is what I’ve learned…

Go for colours that camouflage

Most of our home features slightly darker earthy tones such as brown or beige which I find hides dirt a little better. Also our carpet has greys and beiges in it and our outdoor furniture is navy so both hide dirt quite well.

Go for durable fabrics

I have friends who have white couches and small kids and I honestly don’t know how they do it. We have a couch made from a durable earthy toned fabric and the pillows are made from quite a similar material so this helps to avoid the couch looking worse for wear. When it comes to the furniture in our home everything is quite neutral and quite durable so I always consider those things when I’m buying anything for the house.

Invest in baskets

I never used to have baskets around the house but now I love them as they’re great for storing (or hiding!) things like toys and pillows in a hurry. This is a lifesaver when guests pop around unexpectedly and I need to quickly tidy the house.

Do a big edit of ornaments

I still like having decorative bits and pieces around the house but I’ve done a big edit so I only have the pieces I really love dotted around our home. This makes it easier to keep track of them as the girls are quite curious and love picking things up and playing with them.

I like to do a tight edit of ornaments but find gallery walls to be a great way to liven up a space, but is out of the way from little hands

Choose neutral kids’ furniture

We live in an apartment so the kids’ space is our space so I feel like the kids’ stuff has to blend in with our stuff. I find children’s furniture can be really bright which tends to stick out a lot so we try to get furniture that is neutral so we’ll get white or blonde wood rather than bold colours such as reds, blues or greens.

Think like a kid

Ultimately kids will be kids so you have to take that into account whenever you’re buying/arranging anything in the home. So look around your home and see it from their eyes. For example I would position delicate things somewhere that’s a little more out of the way and not right in the middle of where the girls tend to play a lot. Now that the girls are older it’s a little bit easier, but it’s always important to think about what things are made of because for example something made of glass is definitely more prone to something made of wood.

Fashion

Christmas entertaining tips with Stephanie Conley

11th December, 2019
Stephanie Conley is the founder of the hugely successful lifestyle blog, The Hostess

With Christmas just around the corner it’s not uncommon for stress levels to start skyrocketing, particularly if you’re the one playing host to family and friends. So to help make it easier, I’ve enlisted the help of Stephanie Conley—a former fashion designer turned founder of the successful lifestyle blog, The Hostess, Le Cordon Bleu alumni and Electrolux ambassador to share her top tips for making hosting any gathering over the festive season a breeze.

It can be an overwhelming task hosting family and friends during the festive season. What are some things you suggest people do to help make it easier?

Being organised is key to a successful and enjoyable day. Perhaps you could delegate desserts to other family members so you can concentrate on the main meal, it will take a lot of pressure off.

What are the key trends you’re seeing when it comes to entertaining that people may want to keep in mind for any gatherings over Christmas?

Creating a large grazing table is a great way to entertain and feed a large amount of people. Plating individual meals is very time consuming and often stressful if you have 20 plates to do. Get creative and dress your table with beautiful fresh blooms, use wooden boards and crates to sit platters on, as well as Christmas decorations, fresh fruit and nuts.

What would be on your ideal Christmas menu? 

Seafood is my go-to dish at Christmas, so a classic prawn cocktail, grilled scampi, an abundance of fresh salads and a citrus honey glazed ham. For dessert I always make pavlova and homemade rum and raisin ice cream.  

What’s something you think people should spend less time on when it comes to entertaining? 

Food – it doesn’t have to be 3 Michelin star! Rustic, casual and simple cooking is the best way to cook at home and entertain. The most important thing is to have fresh local produce, use good extra virgin olive oil and cook with love.

A well dressed table should be a focus for any host

What’s something you think people should spend more time on when it comes to entertaining? 

The table is where the focus is, so some effort is needed in the presentation of your table. Invest in some lovely linen napkins and a table cloth or runner. Buy some small table vases perfect for small arrangements that don’t take over your table or block the view of your guests. Update your salt and pepper shakers and flatware. All these little touches create ambience and once you have them you can keep adding and creating different looks for your table.

What are some shortcuts people can take to help put an event together easier?

There are a lot of items you can buy ready made and then just spend time on their presentation. For example an easy Christmas starter would be a fresh seafood platter of prawns, oysters, assorted sashimi and make or buy a dipping sauce. Arrange it all on a large platter with wedges of lemon and toss some watercress over the top with some crusty sourdough.

Glaze a ham and serve with assorted mustards and chutneys. Roast some root vegetables drizzled with maple syrup and rosemary then make a green salad with walnuts, cranberries and crumbled fetta cheese.

And for desert vanilla bean ice cream with fresh mango and crumbled ginger nut cookies on top.

This is a very simple and fuss free menu that everyone can do and would enjoy and it could be done the day of.

What are your key tips when it comes to decorating an event? 

Flowers are always a key item as they just brighten a room.

Beautiful blooms are key to making any event look amazing

What are your tips for styling a table that’s sure to impress?

A centrepiece of low fresh blooms, candles and an element of layering, whether that is using placemats or using a table cloth or runner to create some depth.

What are some things a host can do to ensure that when they’re hosting an event, they’re not spending all their time in the kitchen? 

A secret helper, someone to pour drinks, stack the dishwasher and clear the plates – find a helping hand who wants to do a few hours work so you can enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Also, having large appliances, like the Electrolux RealLife XXL Fully Integrated Dishwasher, is great so you can wash more at one time.  

What are three must-haves for any host? 

1. A well-stocked bar

2. Good food

3. A great playlist-music is essential

Want more tips from Stephanie? Check out her new podcast, in conversation with her husband Oskar Buhre where they discuss Christmas traditions, entertaining and staying organised.