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

So I'm going to have a quiet week of recovery this week - May was fun, but a bit draining... hope you had a good month!

49 comments:

  1. Love the light Heidi! The house is a real credit to you. Martha Stewart eat your heart out I say - those sheep and fruit are great. You looked beautiful for the ball too! The dress looked stunning x

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    1. thank you L.! That cake was amazing - the skirt even had a petticoat with a lace pattern on it! Maybe next year I'll up the game a bit... if I can ever find time! xx

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  2. What a month, I do understand the need for recovery ! And thank you for showing the Avedon photos; they are beautiful and haven't lost their fascination, all those years after !

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    1. Those photos are just mesmerising - no wonder they inspire so many designers to this day. I'm hoping for a quiet few months ahead Silver Bunny! xx

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  3. Wow those kids parties make my normal parties pale in comparison! That person is a natural for sure though bc I'd hire her. You looked stunning for the ball by the way. House is really feeling polished with that light which really seems to be a sculpture so 2 in 1 is great. Home schooling is really taking off here. Private school fees keep rising without anything to show for it but a particular accent and state schools that are good are as hard to get into as Harvard...quite a mess really. Lovely post to catch up and hope June is much more relaxing for you xx

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    1. Well, they called it a light sculpture on the invoice, so I guess it really is a sculpture and a two in one as you say! So glad Mr AV loves it too (he kind of couldn't remember what I'd organised), and everyone that comes over so far has been blown away, it really is quite stunning in person. There has been a move with home schooling here too, probably for similar reasons. I read an interesting article in Tatler (of all places) about the woes of the English Public School system, and the rise in numbers of international students taking the places and upping the fees, and the difficulties in getting a free selective state school education for the average middle class English person. Was pretty interesting... xx

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  4. So many things to look at! The Ball sounds and looks amazing. You must have worked so hard to organise it and pull off that amazing theme. I love your dress and 'do! I can never do a Chignon, so getting a hairdresser to do it is a great idea. If I ever get my act together I'm going to get one for my next big event.
    The cakes are stunning. I'm in awe of parents who bake and decorate amazing creations like that. I'm afraid I definitely don't have the baking or decorating gene.
    Finally, the renovation is looking so, so good. I love that light fixture.
    Looking forward to seeing the garden changes!

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    1. I've only just started getting hairdresser hairdos in the past couple of years Ruth - all the weddings etc I went to and I never had before... but I must say it takes the stress off doing it yourself (with lacklustre results). My decorating of the cakes is definitely on the home made side... I was considering telling people the parties were a 'vintage kids party' so everything was supposed to look a bit home made and wonky! xx

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  5. Oh, and I had a look at the Free Schools book a while ago while loitering in a bookshop. Looks v interesting, will have to get it.

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    1. You should def have a look at it considering your job! Plus you have kids the right age to find it interesting too. xx

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  6. Love the Marchessa note number and hairdo arrangement. Kids parties scare me. But your friend's little sheep and Bo Peep look cute.

    Can't wait to see the garden x

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    1. I used to think kids parties would be fun to do - that was before I had kids and then faced the prospect of hosting and entertaining 14 children in my home. I can't wait to see the garden too!! Will be a few weeks away, at the earliest! And done in stages too (like everything in this house... a looong drawn out process). xx

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    2. Dont you think the secret is keep em short ? i.e. the parties

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  7. What a busy month May has been for you Heidi. Love the ball outfit + hair and your dining room light is amazing. Those sheep cupcakes are absolutely adorable (they remind me of Shaun the Sheep!!) and the fruit skewers are pretty cool . Hopefully June will be a little more restful for you. Not liking the June weather though. I have three layers on at the moment and still cold - might need to go put on the heating! Have a great week. Jo xx

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    1. They are a bit Shaun the Sheep Jo! I can't believe how much the temp dropped on Saturday - so cold and wintery compared to the day before. Turn that heating on!! It has been a busy month, I'm hoping that with things slowing down at home on the renovation front, and all the major obligations out of the way with the ball and parties etc, I can get a bit more organised. And get a bit more sleep too! xx

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  8. The ball looked amazing. Fantastic dress, hair and I love your pearl drops. I never think to wear my hair up for events, but I think I will try to in future. Last summer I went to a blow dry bar before a wedding, but by the time we had driven out to the Cotswolds it had gone rather flat. I ended up wishing that I'd picked one of the updos but I was worried about how it would work with a hat.
    The cakes look great - my girls are October and March so I have quite some time to plan between parties. I can't imagine doing 2 in such a short space. I adore planning kids parties. I must admit to being a closet Martha fan and I go all out with a theme. Actually thinking of starting a webstore here in the UK as the range of things we can get here is far less than what you can get in the States or in Australia (all the best party blogs seem to be Oz/US). I need to set aside some time each week to work on the business plan though: there never seem to be enough hours in the day. x

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    1. Thanks Charlotte! I love an updo for an event - makes you look instantly more polished than you would normally. Although I just love anyone else doing my hair full stop. I so wish they'd do blow dry bars here in Adelaide.... and I'm so jealous you get to wear hats to weddings still. I do love a hat, but they're only pulled out for races here (or the beach, and not the dressy variety). That's so interesting you don't have access to all the party stuff in the UK - I thought that was what Party Pieces was all about?! There are some great, very professional kids party blogs here... do you buy the Donna Hay Kid's magazine? It comes out once a year and is only about kids parties. xx

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    2. party pieces is pretty tacky... lots of Disney and cheap plastic from china. I just checked out Donna Hay's website - love it. We don't have much here like that at all.
      I forgot to say, I adore the light. x

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    3. Ah I see - I haven't actually looked at the PP website, so didn't realise. Donna Hay is a household name in Australia, and she's quite popular in the US too - she was on Martha Stewart's show once I think, her magazine has been going for around 14 years (monthly food magazine). All very tastefully done... thanks re the light! xx

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    4. Ive seen Donna Hay cookbooks in Canadian bookshops , the first time about 10 years ago

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  9. Love lots of things about this post. The cakes look gorgeous and those fruit skewers are just brilliant. So creative.
    As a teacher who has taught in a rural setting, in the UK and now back in Australia I find the debates and discussions about education fascinating. Scandinavian countries have interesting educational systems worth exploring and researching too.

    The Royal Flying Doctors is a phenomenal organisation and the ball looked fantastic. Gorgeous dress too.
    Fifi xx

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    1. The book covered the scandinavian systems quite a bit - and compared the Asian models as well. Certainly reading the book made me think that the funding and the educational systems needed a massive overhaul in this country. But it's such a political and highly charged and emotive topic that I don't know that any government would be able to implement real change. A look at all the emotion around the introduction of the Gonski funding model, and then the emotion around the dismantling of it shows that fairly clearly. xx

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  10. damn! blogger ate my first comment! I think you look divine!

    Yay for birthdays! I used to make elaborate cakes for the kids' birthdays - raggedy anne and andy, hogwarts, clowns, etc. I kind of miss it!

    Can't wait to see the garden!

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    1. Thanks Wendy! I can imagine you had a lot of fun with your kids parties - and amazing sounding cakes too! If you ever feel you miss hosting the parties enough to fly over here and do one of them for me, let me know!!
      I can't wait for the garden too - am dying to see some green xx

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  11. What a fabulous theme for the ball with the opportunity to have those rich warm colours, exotic accessories and lamb tagine - a favourite of mine. The pink ombre cake look wonderful and I'm glad you explained the fairy bread. I think children love anything that's covered in hundreds and thousands! I love your light fitting over the dining room. Not only a creative design but practical too as it gives off plenty of great light.

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    1. It was a great contrast to last years ball (the Snow Ball), and as we had a freezing cold day where it poured with rain, it did make for a pretty welcome contrast!
      Nothing like feeding the kids up on sugar to win some points! xx

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  12. Everything is looking fantastic. Going from strength to strength. The light over the dining table turned out so well. Very cool. I am enjoying watching it come together. Pat on the back for your part in organising that event. Looks really nice and quite the occasion. The party cakes look great too. Can't wait to see progress on your garden! You have great taste in everything, including plants!

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    1. Thanks Laura, it was a great night. I can't wait for some garden progress too, as you know I love gardening, but the lack of green (and the dirt everyone brings inside) has driven me a bit crazy the past few months! xx

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  13. You, the cakes, the fruit - all stunning!
    I am madly envious of that pink tables cape, normally I can't bear pink but I'm strangely drawn to it just now.

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    1. Thanks Tabitha! Funny re the pink... must mean something deeply psychological. Not sure what though (cocooning? femininity?)! xx

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  14. You are indefatigable and highly impressive xx

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    1. sadly not indefatigable. I wish I had my grandmother's energy sometimes! But kind of you to say! xx

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  15. All of the cakes are something else! Thank goodness for pinterest, otherwise moms like me would never have a chance!

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    1. Ahh, Pinterest makes me feel very inadequate! There are some seriously amazing cakes on there, but good for ideas as you say (even if I'm not able to execute them quite as well as I hoped!) xx

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  16. The light over the dining table - c'est magnifique!! Well worth the wait.

    And fairy bread….oh you are making me sentimental now...

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    1. It was worth the wait. I have learnt a lot of patience through this building process Virginia!
      There's nothing quite like some fairy bread to get the nostalgia going! xx

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  17. Oh my gosh I am in love with your dress and your chignon, you look like a movie star. I wish you had taken loads loads more photos but I know what you mean often i end up the end of night with just a few very dark snaps at the table (and for me...usually blurry eyed) That is such a great theme. I can only imagine how much work that was. Your table at home looks so pretty with those blue chairs, lights and that wonderful picture behind, I am trying to make it out, looks intrigueing

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    1. You're very kind Jody! I can't believe how few photos I took of the night. Not one of Mr AV and I together, none with friends... pathetic! The night flew by, and I took those few photos on this post at the very end when I suddenly though I should get a few! It was a great theme - there were a few sceptics as to how we would pull it off, but it worked, and a lot of (older) women wore long sequinned Caftans, so really got into the mood (and probably enjoyed wearing something flowy as well). The chairs are white! I think they've just shown up a little pale blue as it was twilight when I took those photos. I think the painting has appeared in a few background shots, but we love it. Very dutch still life with a twist! xx

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  18. I feel tired just looking at your month of May. What an incredible event for such a small team of organisers. Magnificent dress too to match the very good hair - as expected!

    Your birthday party form is also admirable. Your friend with the princess barbie cake is incredible (I am NOT going to think I could do that....) I don't blog much any more (read ever) but I had to reread my old cake post to keep myself in check ahead of the six year old's party cake last weekend. (http://myvillalife.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/diary-of-crazed-cake-decorator.html)
    I think I might read your post next year and follow the dino cake example. Simple but very effective.
    Good luck with the garden ! x

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    1. Thank you so much Ann! It's actually getting easier each year - we know what works now and don't waste so much time on things that have no impact, or that will be too difficult to execute on the night.
      I wish you would blog again - funnily enough I had literally just removed your blog from my blog roll as I figured you'd given up on it (as your last post was around January 2013), when we reconnected on Instagram!!
      I'm all about simple cakes now. I have noticed that lolly quotient seem to be a key indicator amongst the kids of a successful cake… no point wasting valuable time on fiddly things that they are completely unimpressed by! xx

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    2. Ah blogging. I do miss the writing - and get such enjoyment from other blogs like yours.
      I can't quite give up. My current job is quite full on and takes a lot of creative juice - I plan all the content for a three hour long TV News program and drown in emails so I think that takes all I have ! Never say never. My husband thinks my trusty "If we stay" phrase used when we moved a lot has become replaced with "If I quit work" - he's worried !

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  19. I thought I commented yesterday but I either I only did so in my mind or blogger ate it up. Your hair looks stunning, I have to start getting real updo's when I go out, you have inspired me. But I think you have very pretty hair to start. Your dress, how beautiful and how much fun was that ball? What an excellent cause to be involved in.
    Birthday parties for my kids used to send me over the edge, all of those children and I never was one for decorating cakes, I did enjoying buying them though. So much work!
    Love the light fixture. Our final drawings for the addition are in and they are gorgeous, MrBP keeps looking at them and saying "it might be much easier to move to a bigger house". Which has caused all kinds of confusion!
    Enjoy the peace and quiet.xox

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    1. Blogger's been a bit of a pain lately - I've found comments I've made eaten up too. I love having my hair done for a special event. I'm not great at doing it myself, so having that taken off my hands makes me very happy… plus as we all know having a good hair day means everything looks better!
      So exciting about your extension!! I hope all the final discussions with Mr BP go relatively smoothly, but I do have to say negotiating with your spouse over major house issues is tricky!! I'm still doing that (and clearly not doing too well given that I'm not allowed to buy plants for the garden!) xx

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  20. Congratulations Heidi! You're a wonder! I got tired just thinking about all thr things you achieved in May! Wonder anouy all these superb cake works. What sort of future expectations will these children have? will adult life br a big disappointment? Remember the fairy bread though - an old staple - generally eaten by nostalgic Dads.
    Yr ball oufit gorgeous. Hair stunning! Laptop stll in coma. Difficult with just phone wifi. Hope you get a good break soon. Ps light fab!! Pammie xxx

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    1. Thanks Pammie! Am paying the price for the exhausting month of May though - have absolutely no energy left at all. May take me the rest of the year to recover!! Know what you mean about the kids parties these days, but I think that goes with everything - shiny schools with amazing facilities, Universities with corporate style fit outs… and on it goes. At some point reality will set in and boy will it be disappointing! Actually I overheard a girl in a nail bar complaining that her mum had been overseas, and wasn't getting back until the day after her birthday. She was really put out about it, and must have been at least 18 years old!
      Oh dear about the laptop. Hope that it's able to be sorted… I've had one die before, and the data was unretrievable. And of course I had no backup… xx

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  21. Thought of you when I went for a sticky at a house in my suburb up for auction..only hoping for 4 million, it was an late 19th C house but nicely finished, and of course professionally styled within an inch of it's life.

    Love the fruit flowers,,

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    1. Sounds lovely smr - and it seems that the rule these days is that all your furniture is taken out and a truck rolls in with all the colour coordinated throw rugs etc that are then moved onto the next house. xx

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  22. Heidi have been so quiet as my garden is just like yours... but 100% worse! The ball looked amazing, and you did too. V elegant. Congrats on doing such amazingly good work for the charity and on the homefront - juggling them all is incredibly hard, I know! x HH

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    1. Ah, your garden will get there HH - you've done such a magnificent job on the house, I know the garden will reward you once you are able to turn your attentions there. Thank you re your comments on the ball. Afraid the family tend to suffer a little in the week leading up to it, but am lucky that my inlaws and Dad help out to free me up. Hope all goes well in the big push to finish for you xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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