Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Laura Ashley's Manor Born Collection


Laura Ashley is introducing the timeless Manor Born collection for this Autumn/Winter. The collection is cosy and warm with a palette of cranberry, emerald, grape and sapphire.

The key pattern is elveden, a classic floral intertwined with a bird motif and offered in upholstered furniture, window furnishings, wallpaper, embroidered cushion, china, napery and placemats. 

Step into the quintessential English Country House with the Manor Born.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Style Tips for Bargain Décor

Fresh, funky, and super-cheap, these decorating ideas from Better Homes & Gardens are wallet-friendly and style-savvy.

Drive through any neighborhood on trash day and you're sure to find a beat-up chair or two. Rescue the sturdy ones with sandpaper, primer, and paint. Re-cover the seat by cutting fabric larger all around and attaching it with a staple gun. For extra flair, embellish the chair back with rub-on lettering.

Save an awkward nook with wallpaper. Extra-large patterns work well to keep the look uncluttered, and the same paper used from floor to sloped ceiling helps unite the space.

Gather a few of your favorite fabrics and showcase them in an assortment of mismatched frames.

Give an old cupboard a face-lift with bold color. Splashy pink with stenciled pattern turns storage into a major design statement.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pasta with Peas, Bacon, Mint & Lemon


Get your week off to a flying start with this creamy bacon and mint pasta from Taste

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g dried spaghettini pasta
150g (1 cup) frozen baby peas, thawed
250g Woolworths Select Short Cut Bacon, trimmed, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml pouring cream
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs chopped fresh mint  

1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Add the peas in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 60ml (1/4 cup) of cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pan.
2. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. 
3. Decrease heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the bacon, cream, lemon rind and reserved cooking liquid, and stir to combine. Simmer for 2 minutes. 
4. Add the bacon mixture and mint to the pasta and stir to combine. Divide among serving bowls. Season with salt and pepper to serve.   

Don't add oil to the boiling water - the oil coats the spaghettini and stops it from absorbing the sauce.  

Smoked chicken pasta with asparagus & chives: Replace the peas with 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed, thinly sliced. Replace the bacon with 300g Woolworths Select Smoked Chicken Breast, skin removed, thinly sliced. Omit step 2. Replace the mint with 2 tbs chopped fresh chives. Add the smoked chicken with the cream in step 3.   

Tomato & bacon pasta bake: Omit the cream and lemon rind. Replace the spaghettini with 350g dried penne pasta. Replace mint with 2 tbs chopped fresh basil. Preheat oven to 180°C. Add 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes with the cooking liquid in step 3. Simmer for 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Add to the pasta mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to a 2L (8-cup) capacity ovenproof dish. Top with 50g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.  

Tortellini with broccoli & capsicum: Omit the bacon. Replace the spaghettini with 1 x 625g pkt four cheese tortellini. Replace the peas with 400g broccoli, trimmed, cut into small florets. Replace the mint with 2 tbs chopped fresh basil. Omit step 2. Add 1 red capsicum, deseeded, thinly sliced, with the garlic in step 3 and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until tender. In step 4, add the cream mixture to the tortellini mixture with the basil and toss to combine. Serve.

Visit Taste

Thursday, February 16, 2012

KitchenAid Artisan Mixer

With a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer, you’ll see your kitchen in a completely different light! It will be easier than ever before to make delicious meals, cakes, desserts with a KitchenAid Mixer. You will love spending time in the kitchen and you will love how the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer makes cooking a pleasure, not a chore!
Visit Peters of Kensington

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sleeping In The Clouds!

The sky is not too much to ask. Why let your bed be earthbound when you could sleep on clouds? Maison Ruffle from Aura is the cumulus of slumber, a soporific whisper of cotton and linen gently drawing ever closer to the land of nod. 

Visit Aura

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


RedBalloon has a range of unforgettable Valentine's Day gift ideas, including romantic dinners, scenic flights and secluded getaways. So no more flowers or other predictable presents, show your Valentine how much you love them with a Valentine's Day gift from RedBalloon.

More than just a one hour our massage therapist will work pure muscle magic. Start with a footbath. Let your mind wander through a head-to-heavenly-toes massage. Finish with a dry body brush and certified organic moisturising. Leave with body soothed and skin softened.

Cruise Sydney Harbour in classic style and comfort aboard Sydney’s only authentic timber tall ship. This tall ship cruise will take you sailing past some of Sydney Harbour’s most stunning attractions, all under the magic of the twilight sky. Come and experience the fun of twilight tall ship sailing!

Wine Tasting and Lunch in the stunning Yarra Valley is an award-winning visit to top vineyards and includes entertaining presentations and a superb winery restaurant lunch with wine. During your Yarra Valley winery tour you'll also visit the home of Australia's number one bubbly, Domaine Chandon!

For the perfect spa day, plan to take your partner. Spa together in a stunning, understated double treatment room. Soak up the togetherness through a footbath, full body shiatsu inspired massage and be wrapped in a warming body cocoon. Massage, scalp and feet.

Treat yourself and your friends to a premium movie experience at a Gold Class Cinema. Enjoy plush reclining chairs, intimate screenings and a delicious bar menu. Located in select cities and suburban centres, Gold Class Cinema is the perfect setting for a romantic date or day out with a friend.

Visit RedBalloon

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Recipes

What better way to celebrate with your loved one, than to wine and dine with them at home. Here are some of our favourite romantic recipes…

150g butter, chopped
180g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
220g-block caramello chocolate, frozen, chopped (see tip)
Cocoa powder, to decorate   

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 18cm x 28cm rectangular slice pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang a long ends.
2. Place butter and dark chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
3. Whisk eggs into chocolate mixture until combined. Add sifted flour and cocoa. Whisk to combine. Fold in caramello chocolate. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is firm to touch.
4. Set aside to cool completely.
5. Using a 5cm heart-shaped cutter, cut brownie shapes. Serve dusted with cocoa powder.

2 x 60g Snickers bars, finely chopped
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pure cream
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
icing sugar mixture, to serve

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten  

1. Make pastry: Place flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg. Process until dough just comes together. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease four 3cm-deep, 10cm (base) loose-based fluted tart pans. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using a 13cm cutter, cut 4 rounds from pastry. Line pans with pastry. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
3. Place pans on a baking tray. Line pastry cases with baking paper. Fill with uncooked rice or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are light golden. Remove baking paper and rice or pie weights. Bake for 5 minutes or until base is light golden. Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, reduce oven to 160°C. Divide Snickers between pastry cases. Combine chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until melted and smooth. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat egg, egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add chocolate mixture. Fold in until just combined. Pour mixture into pastry cases. Bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Allow tarts to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold. Dust tarts with icing sugar to form a heart shape (see note). Serve. 

To make an icing sugar stencil, cut a 12cm circle from a piece of paper. Draw an 8cm heart shape on the circle and cut out, leaving circle intact. Place stencil on tart. Dust heavily with icing sugar to form heart shape. Tip: Dust icing sugar on cooled tarts, otherwise icing sugar will dissolve.


150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
150g white chocolate
750g large strawberries, washed, dried  

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Break milk chocolate into even pieces. Place into a heat-proof bowl.
2. One-third fill a saucepan with water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Place chocolate bowl over saucepan (don't let bowl touch water). Stir with a metal spoon until smooth.
3. Dip one-third of the strawberries into chocolate. Place onto tray. Repeat with dark and white chocolate. Refrigerate until set.

Visit Taste

Friday, February 10, 2012

Celebrate Valentines Day with Vera Wang Wedgwood

Capture moments of true love this Valentine's day with stunning toasting flutes from Vera Wang Wedgwood.

From left to right: Duchesse Toasting Flute Pair $99.95, With Love Toasting Flute Pair $99.95, Love Knots Toasting Flute Pair $99.95.
Visit Wedgwood

Friday, February 3, 2012

New From kikki.K

Inspired by organic shapes and colours, Organisk is the new Feminine winter collection available at kikki.K. A stylishly sophisticated range, Organisk combines fashionable hues with neutral shades of the everyday. Embrace organic shapes and colours and get organised in style for winter. 

This winter, add an extra element of kikki.K style to your stationery wardrobe, with the new Fashion Leather Collection, Sand. Created as the perfect accompaniment to Organisk, the collection includes fashionable leather accessories in a gorgeous Sand colour, with the beautiful design embellishments inspired by the Organisk collection.

kikki.K’s gorgeous new 2012 winter collections will be in store from March. 

Visit kikki.K