Good times: Crafternoon Tea #4

It’s been a while since I hosted a Crafternoon Tea, but I’m bringing them back for 2018 as a way to bring my friends together over tea, snacks, and a fun creative project!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tea #4

This time around, we made felt bows using the tamplates from this post on Style Your Senses. They were super easy to make, which meant that there was enough time for everyone to make several bows!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tea #4

There were pens, scissors, glue and a veritable rainbow of felt on the table, and I provided everyone with a little pack of cardboard templates and various types of hair clips and brooch backs to attach to their bows, if they wanted.

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tea #4

It was both fun and relaxing to sit around the table with old and new friends, cutting out and gluing felt, mixing and matching colours as we pleased – what a wonderful way to spend a drizzly Saturday afternoon!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tea #4

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Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

all photos by Lily&Thom

We held our wedding reception at Room With Roses, a gorgeous cafe specialising in high tea, located in the beautiful Brisbane Arcade in the city. It was a fun, relaxed light lunch featuring a lot of seriously delicious finger food and Room With Roses’ specialty raspberry punch. Every part of the planning process for the reception was so easy and painless, thanks to the amazing staff!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

I loved every part of our reception – it was so wonderful to be surrounded by our friends and family, all enjoying themselves and sharing in the happiness of our big day. I remember laughing a lot, giving and receiving countless hugs, and crying a little during the speeches. I remember feeling joyful, excited, and so, so loved.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

To celebrate our 4th anniversary this year, we decided to revisit Room With Roses in a different way – we picked up two delicious hampers filled with their signature high tea treats, and shared a picnic at New Farm Park!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

The hampers came boxed up very nicely together, including disposable cutlery, cups, napkins and plates, but we decided to re-pack everything into our own wicker picnic basket so we could use our own real silverware and plates and have less to carry on the way back.

Unfortunately we did have a little mishap in that the savoury tart contained pesto, even though I had let Room With Roses know about my nut allergies when I booked the hamper. However, I emailed them on Monday and the owner left me a message straight away apologising profusely for the mistake and offering to refund one of the hampers, which I very much appreciated. I’m glad to see that the customer service at Room With Roses is still as high quality as I remember it being in 2014.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Room With Roses

Here’s to four years together and many more to come!

My favourite novels of 2017

all the little happy things - favourite novels of 2017
Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Over the last couple of years I’ve been getting back into reading novels. As a kid, I used to read all the time, but during university I guess all those textbooks and law reports took their toll on me and I stopped reading for fun. But for the past two years, I’ve been hitting up my local library with the goal of reading a new novel each month, and I’m really enjoying it. So today I thought I’d share the list of novels that I read this year, with brief reviews/recommendations for my favourites!

all the little happy things - novels read in 2017

  • The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaranovitch
  • This One Is Mine by Maria Semple
  • A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In by Magnus Mills
  • The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
  • The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni
  • The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
  • Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura
  • Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
  • Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
  • Faithful by Alice Hoffman
  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Book of Days by K.A. Barker
  • A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King

Of this list, I disliked two (The Book of Days and This One Is Mine), liked three (The Hanging Tree, Charlotte Street and Vinegar Girl), was indifferent to the rest, and really loved three. Which brings us to my favourite novels of 2017!

all the little happy things - my favourite novels of 2017

1. The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
From the blurb:
Only very special people are chosen by children’s author Laura White to join ‘The Society’, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, ‘The Game’? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura’s winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her?Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light…
I read the English translation of this gorgeous novel by Finnish author Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and was immediately drawn into its mysterious, subtly magical world of writers, secrets and snowstorms. I loved the way the threads of the story were slowly unravelled only to tangle up again, and even though I finished the novel with lingering questions, I didn’t feel like I’d read something unfinished. I’d love to read it again once I’ve had time for the story and its characters to soak in, as it really feels like a novel that rewards close attention and repeated readings.

2. Faithful by Alice Hoffman
From the blurb:
Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl growing up on Long Island until one night a terrible road accident brings her life to a halt. While her best friend Helene suffers life-changing injuries, Shelby becomes crippled with guilt and is suddenly unable to see the possibility of a future she’d once taken for granted. But as time passes, and Helene becomes an almost otherworldly figure within the town, seen by its inhabitants as a source of healing, Shelby finds herself attended to by her own guardian angel. A mysterious figure she half-glimpsed the night of the car crash, he now sends Shelby brief but beautiful messages imploring her to take charge of her life once more …What happens when a life is turned inside out? When you lose all hope and sense of worth? Shelby, a fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookshops, and men she should stay away from, captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding oneself at last.
I’ve never read any of Alice Hoffman’s novels before, though I was aware that she had written Practical Magic (the movie adaptation was one of my secret favourites growing up!), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. And what I got was a deeply moving story of how a broken soul finds redemption and healing. I don’t know what to say about this book other than I loved it, it made me cry in the best way, and it was a deeply emotional and satisfying read.

3. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
From the blurb:
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book. Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.
It’s really hard to pick my favourite thing about The Invisible Library – the world-building (the protagonist spends most of the time in a cool steampunk version of London), the smart female protagonist, the very idea that there is an interdimensional Library searching for unique and important books… I loved it all! And the best part is that I inadvertently picked up the first book in a series. I will definitely be tracking down the next installments to read next year!

I’m looking forward to continuing my renewed love affair with novels in 2018, and have already got my January book sorted – Forest Dark, the latest novel by one of my favourite authors, Nicole Krauss. What were your favourite books of 2017, and what’s on your reading list for 2018?

Good times: Crafternoon Tea #3

Yesterday I hosted another Crafternoon Tea! As with the previous Crafternoon Teas, the purpose is to set aside some time to catch up with friends over tea, snacks and a fun creative project. This time, we made polymer clay jewellery! I’ve seen a lot of polymer clay jewellery at various handmade and indie design markets for the last couple of years, and have always wanted to make some of my own. Hosting a Crafternoon Tea was the perfect excuse to finally just do it!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

The little ‘kits’ I set up contained baking paper (as a work surface), a small handful of skewers, and polymer clay in some basic colours: black, white, red, yellow, green, blue, gold and silver. On the table I also had a few makeshift tools to help with sculpting the clay, including metal rulers (to use as long blades), glass bottles and jars (for rolling/flattening clay), and an exacto knife. I also provided leather thonging in black and tan for stringing our finished clay beads

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

We all had a lovely time making clay beads, eating delicious snacks and drinking tea. One of my favourite things about Crafternoon Teas is seeing how creative my friends are. Everyone made something a little different, but everything looked great! Here are a few examples.

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

Bec made a couple of pairs of earrings! She took the baked clay home and glued her own jewellery findings on.

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

The two necklaces below are the ones I made!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #3

I’m really enjoying these Crafternoon Teas! It’s such a fun way to spend time with friends. I’ve already started dreaming up ideas for the next few – can’t wait!

Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - third anniversary

Today is our third wedding anniversary! The past three years haven’t been easy. Loving each other every day is hard, and we don’t always get it right… but I know that all the hard work is 100% worth it. You are the the Luke to my Lorelai, the Fitz to my Simmons, the Bob to my Linda. There is nobody else in the world who I would rather muddle through life with. Love you, Dannii. ❤

Good times: Crafternoon Tea #2

Yesterday, I hosted my second Crafternoon Tea! The idea of these Crafternoon Teas is to set aside some time to catch up with friends over tea, snacks and a fun creative project. This time around, we made gold foiled tote bags, using the same method in this post.

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #2

I set up little ‘kits’ at the table, with a plain tote bag, some alphabet templates, a 12×12 piece of fusible web, scissors, a pen and two sheets of gold Deco Foil.

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #2

We had a lovely time chatting, snacking and making, and my friends all got to leave with a lovely gold foiled tote that they had designed themselves. My friends are pretty darn creative!

all the little happy things - Crafternoon Tee #2

I had a lovely and relaxing afternoon, and I’m looking forward to making Crafternoon Teas a regular event next year!

Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - cake

all photos by Lily&Thom

Our wedding cake was made by a family friend, Mrs B, who has been close with my family for nearly my entire life. Mrs B was the one who taught me how to make all kinds of crafty things when I was a little girl, from birthday cards to painted glass. It was really special to have her take part in our wedding day by making our cake.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - cake
We asked for a mud cake, and requested a majority of buttercream icing (because neither of us like fondant), and I asked Mrs B for a small cascasde of flowers down the sides. The result was absolutely beautiful.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - cake
The funny thing is: neither Dannii nor I actually got to eat the cake. We didn’t save the top tier (since there were only two!) and during the reception, I guess neither of us got around to tasting it in between talking to our guests. I am reliably informed that it was delicious, though, and I don’t doubt it!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - cake