Browsing Tag

party

Lifestyle, Social

A peek inside my birthday party with Sterling Vineyards

7th December, 2017

I usually keep my birthday quite low key these days and spend it with the girls and Luke and close family which is always really lovely. This year however, Sterling Vineyards generously offered to host a party for me at Sydney’s La Porte space ahead of my actual birthday today. How could I say no?

It was a great opportunity to celebrate with 30 of my close friends, some of which I’ve known since kindergarten and others I’ve made in the industry and throughout my career, alongside Luke and my brother and sister-in-law. I think it’s always really special being able to gather your nearest and dearest together at an intimate event that’s just all about celebrating and enjoying lots of great food, drinks and each other’s company. And as the official craziness of the festive season ramps up over the next few weeks it was a nice way to catch up with my friends in the one spot.

I think a birthday party is always a great excuse to get all dressed up and I was glad to have the opportunity to wear a striped Maggie Marilyn dress I’ve been dying to wear. I needed standout shoes to match so opted for my pink Marco de Vincenzo braided heels. It was a fun outfit that was befitting of such a great occasion.

One of the great things on the day was being blown away by the amazing space and set up when I first arrived. Lunch was set in a gorgeous courtyard area and had been decorated with a white balloon installation and a long banquet table dotted with beautiful blooms. And what’s a party without a delicious spread to match? We enjoyed a long lunch in the sun and were treated to a delicious grazing menu that included smokehouse salmon with with baby capers, shallots and lemon, mixed grain salad and a caprese salad-esque platter with buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomato and basil. We had matching wines for each course starting with prosecco with canapés, a pinot noir chardonnay for lunch and rosé for dessert (fun fact: Sterling Vineyards is actually a wine brand from the US but they’ve recently come into the Australian market and use Aussie grapes for their range). Speaking of dessert! I’m still thinking about the white chocolate rocky road, handmade milk and dark chocolate bark and summer berries with meringue and mascarpone we were served up. What are birthdays for if not for indulging a little, right?

It feels as if each birthday rolls around quicker than the last and it can flash by just like that so it was amazing to be able to take the time to celebrate with all my friends. It makes me appreciate all the wonderful people in my life even more and another year spent enjoying my time with them.

Check out a few of my favourite snaps from the day below…

The gorgeous table setting

The impressive balloon installation

Bottles chilling on ice ready for guests to arrive

Having a great time with Luke

Selfie time with Terry Biviano

Tanja Gacic, Yan Yan Chan, Sara Crampton, Nadia Fairfax

With the Heinrich sisters, Andrea and Anna

Nadia with my brother, Tom and sister-in-law, Hoda

So lovely having all my nearest and dearest in the one spot

The delicious spread for lunch

Toasting another birthday!

With Tim Robards and Jordan and Zac Stenmark

With Terry and her husband, Anthony Minichiello

With Emma Watson and Sara

Personalised bottles for all my guests

Photography: Sophia Athas

This post was created in collaboration with Sterling Vineyards

Date with Kate, Lifestyle & Social

Date with Kate: James Hirschfeld

6th August, 2017

Entrepreneur James Hirschfeld is the co-founder of the online invitation business Paperless Post, through which 80 million invitations were sent last year. Its users have included Kirsten Dunst, the Obama Administration and, it is rumoured, Prince William and Kate Middleton for Prince George’s christening. Hirschfeld has been listed in the “30 under 30: Forbes’ Most Powerful People on Earth”. Now 32, he chats to me about his business tips, the hardest part of working with family, and the most popular design for cards.

Is this your first time to Sydney?

Yes, though I have been dreaming of visiting Sydney since I was a child. I was raised by an English nanny who followed her husband to Australia when I was four. I remember crying hysterically when she left for the airport and dreaming of flying to Sydney to live with her, especially when my parents punished me.

What is a day in the life of you?

I’m fairly regimented during the week. I live in New York City … My day begins with a three-mile [five-kilometre] run around the park. I get to the office by 10.15, where I split my time between focusing on business strategy, company communications, design, brand and business development. I get home at 7.30, order dinner and typically watch a movie unless I have a dinner engagement.

How did the Paperless Post business begin?

It fittingly began with a party. When I turned 21, I threw myself a big party in Boston, where I was studying. It was the dead of winter so I made the theme “beach club”, I filled a historic house with 80 palm trees and built cabanas with disco balls in them … But when it came down to sending invitations, there was no digital product that reflected the care I put into the event. That’s where the idea was born.

What is the best part about working with your sister, Alexa?

The best part of working with Alexa is celebrating successes together. It’s really nice to be able to share the fruits of your labour with someone you love. Also, we can communicate very efficiently.

What is the hardest part of working with family?

Switching it off. It’s tough being at a family dinner with your co-founder and not letting work creep into the dynamic.

What are you doing while in Australia?

I’m totally thrilled to be in Australia. I came with three intentions: firstly, to get a better feet on the ground understanding of the local culture and tastes. Secondly, I wanted to promote Paperless Post in one of our fastest growing global markets. Finally, I was here to speak about the importance of diversity in technology at the [recent] Vogue Codes conference.

You have re-established the standards of modern correspondence. Did you ever envision that Paperless Post would become so big?

I really don’t think we could have imagined where we’ve gotten in 2007, when the idea first emerged … I started Paperless Post when I was [21] and at the time I kind of thought the business would be all about 21st birthdays, because that was all I knew!

Kirsten Dunst used it for her 30th birthday party, the Obama Administration for events during the 2012 re-election campaign and, rumour has it, Will and Kate for Prince George’s christening. What has been your biggest pinch-me moment?

Actually, it wasn’t a famous user. Two years ago I was travelling from Greece to Italy. I had to take a tiny ferry from the island where my family spends the summer to a bigger island with an airport. On the ferry boat I struck up a conversation with an older Italian couple who told me they had used the product for their daughter’s wedding. Then, on the flight, the man I was sitting next to had used it for his father’s 70th. When you meet really random people and they have a personal connection to your product, it’s pretty surreal.

Why do you think sending “special” mail online and in paper form is so popular?

People like to know that others are thinking of them. Special mail takes time to send and usually has more personal value for the receiver. Who doesn’t like receiving invitations to parties?

What is the most popular card design and why?

People really love designs where they can add their own photo – I think it makes the design more personal.

Do you have a motto?

“Parties are only as fun as their hosts.”

How do you switch off?

I am borderline addicted to running. I start every morning with a [run] – it clears my head and gets rid of anxiety.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Go to museums, go to music festivals, get people together for dinner at my house.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope in five years I’m doing what I’m doing now – helping people connect in the real world more easily and more meaningfully, but on a larger global scale!

Where is your favourite place to travel?

Greece. My mother is Greek and it’s where my family goes every summer for vacation.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in New York, which I loved. I had one foot in New York culture, the other in Greek culture because of my Mum’s family and the amount of time we spent in Europe. Growing up in the city is pretty competitive and intense and you grow up fast, but I’m lucky to have a very supportive and loving family.

If you hadn’t gone down this career path, what would you be doing?

Probably running a different start-up!

What advice would you give to someone starting his or her own business venture?

Find great co-founders who can balance your strengths and weaknesses, and roll with the punches.

BITESIZE

We went to Bondi Icerbergs, Bondi

We ate Fusilli all’Amatriciana di Mare Fusilli with Crystal Bay Prawns, Spicy Amatriciana Sauce & Pangrattato; Insalata alla Terzini with Gem Lettuce, Radicchio, Oregano & Sharp Lemon Dressing; Piatto di Salumi with Shaved Salumi, Olives, Pickles & Grissini

We drank Mineral Water

Photograph Fairfax Media

Lifestyle

Sophia’s First Birthday celebrations

3rd June, 2015

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Sophia turned 1 recently which is a really exciting milestone. I really wanted to host a low key celebration (she is only 1!) that was casual and kid-friendly so we opted to have it at a park near our house. We invited our family and a few of my friends who are also mums brought their kids along too. Here are a few details from the day (I’ve received questions about everything from the cake topper to the decorations so I’ve popped all the supplier details at the end of the post):

Food
I was away the week before Sophia’s birthday so I wanted to keep things simple so we got the food catered for the adults and just had nice finger food and for the kids we had carrot sticks, cheese sandwiches in the shape of stars and lots of fruit. Oh and cupcakes and cake of course! I highly recommend just keeping the menu simple and just having a few key things – it helps cut down on prep time and also you want to be able to hang out with your guests and just enjoy the day as opposed to worrying about the food.

Entertainment
We knew we had to keep the kids entertained so we set up in the park a mini pool filled with balls and we gave Sophia a little tee pee for her birthday so we brought that to the park too.

Decorations
I decorated the table with some flowers from my local fruit store and just popped them in some vases from home and we added a nice oversized balloon for a festive touch. It was all very casual and nothing too over the top.

Party outfit
I wanted a special birthday outfit for Sophia so I decided to have her wear a really sweet tutu from Tutu Du Monde.

Present
And as for the tee pee? I’d been searching high and low for a neutral tee pee made of plain canvas but everything was either too girly or had too many patterns and prints. I eventually found a company overseas that made exactly what I was looking for thanks to Pinterest. I liked this particular tee pee because you can do it up how you want it to look. Sophia absolutely loves her present and has spent copious amounts of time hanging out in there as you can see from the pic above.

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Sophia’s first birthday outfit. Can’t go wrong with a pink tutu!

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Our starry cheese sandwiches

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The birthday girl cuts her cake

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It was pink all round!

The birthday spread

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A personalised cake topper

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Sophia playing with one of her friends

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Besties!

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Gorgeous flowers helped add the finishing touch to the table

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First birthday family shot

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Our little Sophia enjoying her day

 

Sophia’s Dress: Tutu Du Monde

Cake: My Little Cupcake

Cake topper: little Miss Az

Catering: Serena Sanderson

Balloon: Born To Party

Teepee: Moozle

Fashion, Social

Hermès On The Beach

24th February, 2015

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The annual Hermès event is a bit of a showstopper. When one of the world’s most exclusive brands throws an event it’s definitely memorable. Previous events have taken place at Luna Park and Vaucluse Park in Sydney, but this year’s event was at Strickland House in Vaucluse. The venue was a gorgeous house that was on the waterfront and upon arrival you were escorted down to the event in your very own golf buggy. The event had a really relaxed vibe with everyone going barefoot. The house was amazing. There was a mirrored maze through the house and the walls were decorated with Hermès silk scarves (very chic wallpaper indeed!). Everyone was given a mask to wear which gave the entire event a masquerade party feel, but the standout masks were definitely the paper horse heads some people were wearing, they were so intricate and incredible up close. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a balmy Sydney evening.

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Beauty, Fashion

New Year’s Eve party dressing

30th December, 2014

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When it comes to New Year’s Eve dressing make like Kate Moss above and think glitzy, glamorous and bold statement-making makeup. If there’s one time of the year you can afford to go a little OTT it’s the eve of December 31st!

The outfit

I think New Year’s Eve is all about the perfect dress. For me I definitely tend to go for something a little sexier for New Year’s Eve. It’s the time to splash out, so if you want to wear sequins or something sparkly or if you want to go for a classic LBD with a statement shoe or with a statement clutch, there’s no better time to stand out and have fun with your outfit.

My go-to party dress designers: I think you can find some really sleek and sexy looks at Dion Lee. If you want colours and prints you can always go to Josh Goot. And I think CAMILLA AND MARC always do really great party dresses.

Top tip: No matter where you’re going on New Year’s Eve, it can be notoriously hard to get around so it’s all about finding a sexy statement heel that’s easy to get around in case you have to walk miles to get a taxi. Make sure to think comfort as well as style when it comes your footwear – you don’t want to be walking around barefoot at the stroke of midnight.

The makeup

For me it’s all about making a statement whether that be a bold eye or a bold lip, but make sure it’s one or the other. I think a black smoky eye is always a great look on New Year’s Eve. It’s definitely the time to dress up.

What’s your New Year’s Eve party look?