I said in one of my more recent blog posts that May was a busy month for me, and that is for a few very good reasons. Two of my children have birthdays only 4 days apart, and the Royal Flying Doctors "Wings for Life" ball was held last Saturday night. As I mentioned previously in a blog post, I am a part of the Volunteer Organising Committee (along with four others), so the final month leading up to the ball is fairly busy as we work to pull all the loose ends together.
Our theme this year was "The Bazaar Ball", with a Moroccan influence. We started with a couple of the famous Richard Avendon photos of Talitha Getty (above) that were taken for Vogue in 1970 for inspiration. The room was transformed with lots of warm colours on the table and chair covers, moroccan tile patterns projected on the walls and ceiling, flickering tea lights and lanterns, a street market with the Auction items, date palms, and a Middle Eastern themed meal (which was delicious - lamb shank tagine on couscous for the main). The ball sold out around 3 weeks ago, and we had 934 people attending this year, so it was a huge success.
This was me just before leaving for the ball. I have no decent photos of my outfit - Mr AV is flat out with work at the moment, and worked up until 5 minutes before we were due to leave... so after he changed it was a fairly hurried exit. I wore a full length sequin embellished Notte by Marchesa dress, and had a low chignon done by my hairdresser.
It was so much fun! Before the start of the live Auction they always have a patient testimonial, and this years was so sad, and had such a miraculous ending. Very inspiring - the patient had a heart transplant, apparently the Flying Doctors fly one patient a week across the country to whichever city has the donor organ for organ transplants.
So in the weeks prior to the ball I had a couple of Children's birthdays to plan and execute. Unfortunately, due to sheer disorganisation, I only started planning them around 10 days before the big event, so that meant an at-home party (with a back garden that looked like a desert due to the building works), and food and entertainment by me. So it was a busy two weekends....
E's cake used a recycled cake topper from her 2nd birthday party (I changed the number), which I unfortunately set fire to when lighting the birthday candles..... oops. It was ombre pink layers in the centre (just a vanilla butter cake with meringue buttercream icing). I also made pink meringues, strawberry jellies, fairy bread in the shape of butterflies (for my overseas readers fairy bread is a traditional Australian children's birthday party treat - basically crustless slices of bread with butter and hundreds and thousands on it. They go nuts for it) and party pies, sausage rolls and pasties (bought from Perryman's bakery - they make the best party pies in town).
I rolled out the same party the following week, but with a blue and orange theme, and with S's cake having a dinosaur theme (he turned 4). For lack of ability in making some sort of magnificent 3D dinosaur cake topper in fondant, I took some plastic dinosaurs from the toy box, made them party hats, and a string of bunting to create The Party Dino cake, which looked pretty hilarious. It was chocolate cake with vanilla meringue buttercream icing too. Of course this past weekend, I took E to one of her little friends birthday parties, and found that the Mum had created this magnificent Bo Peep cake with sheep cupcakes. She has apparently never taken cake decorating lessons and does not make them professionally. How is this so???!
Bo Peep and her sheep
The fruit was all very fancy too. Plus she hand paper crafted the invitations and the party decorations. She could seriously give Martha Stewart a run for her money.
fruit garden skewers. I just put the fruit on a plate at my kids parties - party fail.
I've read quite a few books since my last update, but I'll just write up two so as not to make this too long. The first was "Free Schools", which is a look at the Private v's Public school system in Australia, the funding, the current system of NAPLAN exams, of teacher education and ongoing training, and comparisons with what works overseas and what doesn't. It covers a lot of ground and at the heart of it was that for some reason in Australia we keep taking on US or UK style education theory that is not working in the US/ UK, with similar results here. It was incredibly comprehensive. A definite recommendation from me for anyone interested in the Education system and considering their school choice for their children, or for Teachers or other Education professionals. The front cover is fairly gimmicky though I would have to say, and for a lot of people - particularly in rural areas - they don't actually get a choice in their school options.
"The Pinecone" was the biography of a woman living during the era of Jane Austin (early 1800's) who lived an unconventional and independent life as a well educated single woman. I really enjoyed it, although it was a bit of a stretch to state she was an Architect on the cover - more an enthusiastic designer, with independent means to finance her own building projects with really interesting results (she never took on any other commissions).
So if you're read through all that, a renovation update. We've had the light installed over the dining table that was commissioned from The Jam Factory. I wrote about our choice, and the commissioning process here. We're thrilled with the end result, it's a definite piece of sculpture in the room, and adds so much to the overall scheme. It was also great to buy locally from an environmental view point, and to support talented local designers.
Outside the landscaping work has begun, not such interesting photos yet as there are just a lot of piles of dirt at present, but we're happy that the desert look is at least disappearing a little.
side garden begins - will become a formal garden
back garden, removing all the building rubbish
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