Anya and Allegra's Joint Birthday Party!

Friday, November 29, 2013



Despite a last minute change of venue (due to unpredictable weather and storm forecasts) the girls party was a success! We live in a terrace house with lots of stairs so it's not the most ideal house to entertain large groups but we managed to accommodate 60+ guests (half kids, half adults) with no real problems at all. We did some last minute furniture shifting swapping all the furniture from the lounge room into the formal dining room and vice versa (which funnily enough we quite like so we may just leave it like that for a little while!) but besides that I think it turned out to be much easier having it at home rather than lugging all the stuff to a venue! And the most important thing of all is that both girls had an absolute ball... Allegra in particular. She woke up through the night in tears and when I asked her what was wrong she muttered through the sobs 'Oh I am just so sad that everyone has left my party. It was the best party ever!' Bless :) Anyway, I thought I'd share some pics with you as well as the details of where most of the items are from... enjoy! x

The whole inspiration for the party stemmed from the absolutely stunning invitations I had custom made through Le Papier Studio. I had a vision and the amazing Vana Chupp helped me bring it to life. They were beyond perfect! Vana was such a delight to work with! Honestly, some of the best customer service I have had in a very long time.  I cannot thank her enough. Once I had a colour palette to work with I began trawling the net for goodies and fell in love with these cupcake wrappers from Dress My Cupcake and Amazon.
Just after the invitations arrived, I remembered I had bought a copy of Vana's book 'Pretty Paper Parties' months ago, long before I had even thought to engage her to create the invites for me. As soon as I opened it and saw that most of the paper in it matched perfectly with my colour theme I had a light globe moment and decided to go that one extra step and line the envelopes. Just when I thought the invitations couldn't possibly get any more beautiful... voila! :)
Vana also made the cupcake toppers for me... aren't they adorable! I made the giant paper rosettes myself (there are plenty of tutorials online if you just google) and the spotted heart paper I purchased from Etsy seller Huggable Me for... wait for it... $3.00! I was pretty happy with myself for coming up with the idea as it meant I could just print as many pieces of paper as I pleased... much cheaper than buying paper! Given I needed large pieces of paper for the rosettes it was cheaper and easier for me to have them done at a local print shop. You will see below I also used the paper for several other party items!
Up until recently I had never dressed my girls in the same outfit but have now done so a few times in the last couple of weeks... what have I started! I always said I wouldn't hee hee. Their sweet 'Limoncelli' party dresses are from Bardot Junior and as you will see below they both looked just darling! :)
Allegra Isobel @ 3 years old and Anya Lucille @ 1 year old... love them more than anything! xxx
I baked x30 of these delicious mini sugar cookies, iced them with white royal icing and then very carefully topped them with the edible icing toppers I had printed through Custom Icing. They were much easier to make than I thought they would be and at just $18 for the custom toppers, these sweet biscuits were probably one of the things I was most pleased with. They were seriously so cute! 
Here's a close up of the stunning cupcake wrappers and cupcake toppers! I kept it simple by baking my vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing as they seem to be a winner with both adults and children.
For those who didn't see the DIY Paper Bow tutorial I posted a few weeks ago, you can find it here. I am still obsessed with these super simple and super effective paper bows I used for the party favour bags. Again, the paper I used to make these was purchased as a digital file from Huggable Me and they were made complete with my custom made 'thank-you for coming stickers' from Le Papier Studio.
The super sweet mini milk bottles were purchased from the lovely Leanne of Sweet Style. I then covered with a small strip of my heart paper and finished it off with some custom stickers also from Le Papier Studio. I managed to find some matching straws to go with the one Vana used on the cupcake toppers and purchased them from Little Red Chick. Some of you may have seen my macaron crisis on Instagram, thankfully we don't live to far from the CBD so I was able to pick up some last minute replacements from Laduree. I purchased the eco-friendly forks from Wheel and Barrow and covered the front with some more of the paper from my 'Pretty Paper Parties' book.
Here'a a closer shot of the table. The white 'milk glass' cake stands were also purchased from Sweet Style. The bargain nesting jars I used to house the lollies were purchased from Kmart for just $15 each and the candy jar and clear glass cake dome are also from Wheel & Barrow.
Another purchase from Sweet Style, these Icecream pail favour cups were perfect for some yummy fruit salad which I dressed up with some more of my paper! The ones that weren't eaten at the party made for another great little take home treat!
Each year I plan on having the cake made by someone else and each year I just can't help myself. There is something about making the Birthday cake that makes me so content. This years cake was a deliciously moist white chocolate mud cake with vanilla buttercream icing. And a Bouw party wouldn't be a Bouw party without some of my infamous Rocky Road now would it :)
Here's a close up of the cake along with the DIY cake bunting I made.  I cut up a few of the cupcake wrappers to make the little flags so that the colours and patterns would tie in nicely. Again, there are plenty of tutorials available online.
To make these chocolate bars I simply removed the wrappers from a heap of Cadbury 'Furry Friends', covered them with my heart paper and again topped with my custom made stickers.
The day was so chaotic we didn't manage to get very many family photos (it's hard enough to get both girls to look at the camera on a good day) so these few will have to do! My three favourite people :)
I captured this photo as Allegra sat on the front door step and watched the last of her guests leave... bless. I think it's fair to say she had a very special day! 
So there you have it, another year, another party! I've already told myself I'm not going to bother with a party next year... give me six months or so and I'm sure I'll change my mind ;)

Get the look: The Cape!

Monday, November 25, 2013



Whoever said capes were just for superheroes?! Not me! 'The Cape' is the perfect item to allow you to feel like a Heroine and battle a confused Mother Nature... it seriously feels like winter one day and summer the next at the moment so the cape is perfect for keeping your shoulders warm whilst not taking away from the summery look of your outfit. I purchased this gorgeous and cleverly designed Ivory Cape online from To The Max (their store is based on Lygon street in Carlton for all you Victorians) and they also ship their items internationally too! Be sure to check it out as they seriously have a huge array of stunning and affordable clothing! All other items are listed at the bottom of this post. Happy shopping my friends! x
 

Get the look:

Finders Keepers Santuary Cape from To the Max
Tony Bianco Krystle Heels from Wanted Shoes
Coral Skorts from Witchery
Gloss in 'Orgasm' from Nars Cosmetics

Gold 'Hide and Seek' bangle from Louis Vuitton
Nail Polish #361 from Inglot
Crystal Tab Earrings from Witchery
Sunglasses from Sportsgirl (they are current stock although they weren't listed on their website).

Tutorial: DIY Perfect Paper Bows!

Sunday, November 17, 2013



Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen these adorable paper bows I made for my girl's favour bags for their upcoming party! I've been promising for a week or so now to share this simple DIY with you all. I can't take all the credit as I found this brilliant tutorial on the wonderful How About Orange blog (do yourself a favour a check out Jessica Jones' super crafty blog, it won't disappoint!) but thought I'd share my own photos :)

You will need:

- Scissors
- Hot glue gun or craft glue
- A grey lead pencil (I used a fine liner for this tutorial as it was a little clearer for the photographs)
- Patterned paper of your choice
- Bow template downloaded here from How about Orange. I needed my bows to be slightly smaller than this template so I used the template as a guide and then used freehand to sketch to the size I needed.



Step 1: Cut out the three pieces from your bow template, these will now be your stencils (below).
 

Step 2: Turn your paper patterned side down and use the stencils cut from the template to trace your three pieces (below). The size of your bow will depend on how many you get per page. If you use the template from How about Orange you will get x2 bows per page.
 

Step 3: Cut the pieces from your patterned paper.
   

Step 4: Take the longest piece and turn is so your pattern is facing down and you are looking at the blank side. Take the two ends and bend them back into the centre and fix with glue.



Step 5: Layer the curled piece on top of the medium sized piece so they are lined up nicely. Then take the smallest piece and wrap it around the centre and secure with a little more glue at the back. Voila!!!
 

Aren't they just fantastic!
     

And they can be used in so many different ways! I love this DIY so much that I made a heap over the weekend to dress up my girls' Birthday pressies!
  So simple yet so affective right?! Now to make some for Christmas :) Enjoy! x

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Mini Baked Cheesecakes with Cranberry Sauce!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Last night I enjoyed yet another of my monthly cooking club/ladies dinners! This months host, a friend of mine and fellow Mummy who was born and bred in California, jumped at the chance to select 'Thanks Giving' as our theme! I decided to change up and old recipe of mine (mini baked cheesecakes) and do a twist on my usual strawberry topping by substituting with a cranberry sauce. I had never cooked with cranberries and despite thinking the topping might be a little too tart, they turned out perfectly and were a hit with the ladies! Not only is this recipe easy peasie but it can be prepared well in advance (I baked my cheesecakes the day before and the sauce the afternoon of the dinner), these babies can hold their own on a plate at any dinner party :) Oh and if cranberries aren't your cup of tea you can alway replace with your choice of fruit/topping!
 

Mini Baked Cheesecakes with Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

Biscuit base
200g Digestive biscuits.
100g butter, melted
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheesecake filling
250g cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
100ml thickened cream

Cranberry Sauce
300 grams fresh cranberries (I found mine in the frozen section of a specialty grocer)
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

- Preheat oven to 180° C (160° C fan-forced).

- Line 12 holes of a muffin pan with patty cases. I used normal paper patty cases that measure 5cm across the base and 8cm across the top. I wouldn’t use up your pretty cases for this recipe as the cakes are not served in them.

- Finely crush biscuits in a food processor or blender. Tip the crushed biscuits into a bowl and then stir in the melted butter.

- Divide the biscuit mixture evenly amongst the patty cases and firmly press mixture down with the back of a teaspoon until even and smooth. Set aside whilst making the filling.

- Beat the cream cheese and caster sugar in an electric mixer. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, add the egg and beat until combined. Finally, add the cream and beat until well combined.

Divide mixture evenly among cases.

- Bake cheesecakes for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

- Once cooled, remove cheesecakes from pan, place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Cranberry Sauce

- In a medium sized saucepan, dissolve the sugar and orange juice over medium heat.

- Stir in the cranberries and vanilla essence and cook until cranberries begin to pop (open up), about 10 minutes.

- Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

- Immediately before serving, top refrigerated cheesecakes with the cooled cranberry sauce.

- Enjoy!
 

Get the look: Skorts!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This week, for the first time in about a year and a half, I dared to bare my legs. During my second pregnancy I had some really awful veins come up leaving me too self conscious to wear above the knee skirts, shorts or dresses. I know there may be some who think this is vain (pardon the pun) but combined with the many changes our bodies go through when baring children, I just couldn't bare the thought of looking at them let alone letting others see them. I wouldn't even wear shorts around the house. Silly I know but we all have our own hangs ups don't we?! One cannot undergo treatment whilst pregnant or breastfeeding so it was only eight weeks ago that I was finally able to have them tended too. I was informed they get a lot worse before they get better (the treatment clots the veins and leaves them very bruised and lumpy) and I was warned it could take up to six months to heal completely. I still have mild bruising and a few little lumps BUT here I am just eight weeks later feeling very free in my new skorts! :)
 

Get the look:

Scarf print shell top from Country Road

Pleat front shorts/skorts from Witchery

Slake dark bracelet from Swarovski
Red ‘Trafaluc’ strappy heels from Zara
Black 'Reva' clutch from Tory Burch
Grand Apparat bangle from Hermes
LV Inclusion bracelet from Louis Vuitton
Inglot nail polish #360 from Inglot


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