Saturday, 8 November 2014

Roast Lamb Jamie Style….


It's been quite a while since my last recipe post and so I thought being the weekend I would share this amazingly delicious Roast Lamb!!! I stumbled across this Jamie Oliver recipe a few months ago in the weekend paper. Its been cooked many times over since then because it seriously is so easy and delicious. I also love that it can be served with a trayful of roasted golden veggies or with a simple salad.


So, you will need…

2.5-3 kg leg of lamb
100g unsalted, softened butter
1/2 bunch thyme leaves
1/2 bunch rosemary leaves
4 unpeeled red onions, halved
2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated

Preheat your oven to 220 deg celcius. Score the lamb all over 1/2 cm apart and about 3mm deep- like you would with a ham! Make a herb butter by popping the butter, thyme and rosemary into a blender and whizzing well to combine. Season with some salt and pepper. I also cheat by chopping herbs finely then using hands mix into butter. The messier option, but less washing up and still effective!

Arrange the red onions and garlic cloves in a large roasting tray. Place lamb on veggies in tray then rub the herb butter generously all over the top of the lamb. Put into oven to cook until meat is to your liking. Jamie's tip for 'blushing' meat is roasting 10 minutes for each 450g, plus an extra 20 minutes at the end. When lamb is cooked, allow another 10-20 minutes to rest.

Based on these times, our 2.5kg roast needed an hour and ten minutes in the oven and extra time for resting.

The suggested side for this dish was a celeriac mash and a heavenly gravy. I tried the gravy and it was, hands down, the best gravy I have ever made. Can highly recommend.

So…recipe for gravy goes like this…

Drain any 'fat' or 'oil' from the roasting tray, leaving onion and garlic remnants and other meaty bits. Squish the onion and garlic into the tray. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of gravy over the tray, mixing and coating the onions and garlic. Pour in a 'glug' of port and a litre of hot chicken stock. Place on high heat and mix so that it is well combined. Keep stirring, allowing gravy to reduce. Pour through a sieve if needed, however, my gravy turned out so smooth and flavoursome.
Please note- I have also made without Port and still tastes good.

Otherwise, I served ours with some roasted Potatoes and a simple slaw made up of red cabbage, carrot and avocado lightly coated with some aioli mayo and some home made mint sauce.

And I dont have to mention the yummy leftover lamb sandwiches that followed……x

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!





 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Catching Up With Zoe Howard from Cushionopoly


With winter now officially done and dusted (with the exception of a few days here and there!) and the pretty blossoms of spring still popping up all over the place, its once again a good excuse to open the windows, move some furniture around and add some fresh fun colour to your home. 

Today in our catching up with series, Im excited to have Zoe Howard, founder and creator of one of Australia's up and coming interior homewares business, Cushionopoly.

Cushionopoly is an Australian owned business proudly located in Melbourne.  Zoe's designs are fresh, fun, affordable and becoming very popular (you may have seen some of her cushions in the Block Shop!) . I love the combination of a gorgeous classic linen fabric with a contemporary feel of the colour and pattern range.

So, without wasting any more of your precious time, here is lovely Zoe, sharing withus a bit about herself and her wonderful business.




1. A quick summary about you and why you started Cushionopoly.

I grew up in a beachside suburb in Perth, one of four kids – middle child. While studying for my journalism degree I worked at a newspaper in media sales which saw me fall into a career of advertising media sales instead. My passion for travel kicked in and saw me travel to London for a stint of work and play. My husband and I met while working at a magazine which was popular for travelling Australians and New Zealanders – TNT Magazine. After a bit more travel we ended up moving to Melbourne in 2005 and I moved into marketing. 

Three years ago after the birth of my son Gus, I was off on maternity leave for 12 months. Naturally being a first time mother I spent a great deal of time at home with much of it staring at all the improvements I wanted to make (ours was a renovators delight!). Unfortunately being on one wage for a year my budget was somewhat lacking. Being a homewares nut this did make me very frustrated and I looked to simple ways to make updates. So I started out trying to source cushion covers as this was the easiest, most affordable and environmentally friendly way to update what I already had. I looked high and low and just couldn’t find the style, colour or range I had in my head.  Everything was way too expensive or the quality wasn’t there. My mother-in-law is a keen crafter and she helped me re-establish my sewing skills and I started making my own.   When friends would come around to visit they would comment on the cushions and couldn’t believe that I had made them myself. A few friends put in custom orders!

So when Gus was about six months old I started to put a plan in place to build on this idea of creating handmade, beautiful and fun cushions but making them affordable too.



2. Describe your style.
I would say my style is vibrant and fun with clean and simple designs that catch the eye and bring a smile to the room.

3. An average day for you entails…
My day starts when Gus wakes up somewhere between 5am – 6am and then he gets into bed with me for a cuddle while I check out instagram J then it is dropping off Gus to daycare (he is in three days), going to the post office and sending off the previous days orders. I usually drop in and grab a takeaway coffee (sometimes a morning treat) from my favourite local café Pure Italian and then it is back to the studio and I begin to go through my emails and orders and get back to new stockists and plan any social media I might be putting up that day. Lunch is whatever is in the fridge and then usually wait around for couriers to pick up wholesale orders in the afternoon while ordering supplies, working on any new designs and sewing up cushions. Then back to pick up Gus and get dinner started.  

4. Favourite  designers you take inspiration from?
 I work in a very inspiring community of people from fellow designers, makers, crafters, bloggers and instagrammers. I take inspiration froma so many places and images its almost impossible not to these days.

5.The room you love most in your home?
 I love my kitchen! We have renovated our 1960s home over the past year and we went for almost seven weeks without a kitchen (those of you who have kids you might understand that being without a kitchen, especially a sink, is a special kind of hell). So when it was finally installed I have never been more in love with a space then my new kitchen. Close second is my living room which does get all new cushions on the couch probably every three months.

6. Tea or coffee?
Tea definitely! My mum is British so I grew up always starting the day with a cup of fresh brewed tea (no tea bags for my mum and dad!). I love love love Earl Grey tea strong with a dash of milk.

7. What do you love most about having your own business?
I love the idea and feeling of endless opportunity and a sense of freedom to my life. To be able to get out of your business the hard work I put in is so very rewarding.

8. Favourite country destination?
My favourite country destination is Tasmania. My in-laws are poppy and sheep farmers from Cressy just out of Launceston. I spend a lot of my holidays in Tasmania and even launched my first screen printed range The Dark Horse there at Agfest.

9. Favourite colour combinations at the moment?
Peach and mint! It feels so fresh and summery.

10. Three items you can't currently live without?
Family, iphone and chocolate. 





A very big thank you for Zoe popping by and sharing with us her wonderful business.
All images courtesy of Cushionopoly.

And if your having a spring cleaning moment and looking for a easy, affordable and cheerful room makeover, click over to Cushionopoly's online store and check out their gorgeous cushion's. 

You can also find them at the Finders Keepers Markets in Melbourne held tonight and tomorrow.

Details-
www.cushionopoly.com.au
Stay up to date by following on Instagram (@cushionopoly) and on Facebook.







Thursday, 9 October 2014

Introducing……The Pink Paddock Store!



So, Im back again….this time with a glass of champagne in hand as I type.

Why, you may ask??? Well this afternoon I finally launched my new business- Pink Paddock Store.
Today has been filled with mixed emotions…stressed and anxious trying to get website finished, tired from a late night sorting and packaging cards, nervous about pressing that go LIVE button on site, and then extreme excitement as my first order came through only 20 minutes later! And not from a family member or friend either, I might add. Although I now consider Erin a good friend! Thank you Erin!!
Not long after a few more orders trickled through and I have to say its been overwhelming the support Ive had on the PPS Facebook page and Instagram feed. Thank you all so much x

But some info on Pink Paddock Store…..


Pink Paddock Store is a small boutique online stationery store, selling gift cards designed by me and printed by one of our local (and amazing) printers! Im proud to have a product that is made in rural Australia and supports local industry.

 Watermelon Card- Found here.

The current range is small and new designs will be added in the next few weeks. I also will have gift tags and (dare I say….) Christmas cards arriving soon too!
My aim is to beable to stock a good all round range that enables 'one stop' shopping and where you can browse through and find something that suits. I also want them to be colourful and fun! Afterall, receiving a card in the post always makes one smile!



The boxed sets are great value and will mean your stationery cupboard is stocked. I also love that they can be framed as well or just simply taped on the wall next to your computer for some fun and inspiration!


So, if you are a paper lover like me, and have a spare moment…I would love for you to pop over and visit my new store. There are some individual cards available, as well as postcards, box sets and some A4 Prints. Im also running a Promo until next Sunday the 19th October, 2014. All online purchases over $30 will receive a free A4 print (valued at $14.95). Conditions Apply- only valid for Australian postal addresses and the print is one pictured and is unframed.




If you would like to stay up to date with any Pink Paddock Store news you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

And if you feel like some online shopping this weekend I would love you to stop by!!!






Monday, 22 September 2014

Finding My Spring, Getting organised and a homemade Calendar!


Hello again…..!!! Its been a while I know. I got a little lost in winter and have only just found the energy to emerge again. 

Spring is by far, my favourite season. I love the blossoms and new green growth on all the trees. Everything starts to come alive again and that smell of 'bubblegum' can be smelt on those warm afternoons as the scent of new blooms waft through the air. I love that feeling of opening up all the doors and windows letting light and fresh air into the house. Jumpers and long sleeved tops are swapped for t-shirts and a wrap, the kids head outside earlier to play in the garden and Im not too fussed about whether they have shoes on or not. Slowly pockets of colour are appearing in the garden which make for perfect pickings for little vases inside. Spring brings back that bounce in my step that often gets lost towards the end of winter.

Which is kind of what happened….Back in July I suddenly felt tired and lacked the energy to keep on blogging. Im not quite sure why. At first I thought I would take just a week off, but a week turned into a month and a month turned into two! I read this post written by Janelle from the blog, A White Farm. It really resonated with me and probably explains where Ive been and why I needed this little break. The last few months have been busy nonetheless. The children are at a very busy age and there is always something happening. It gave me the chance to just hang out with the kids without the pressure of putting a 'post' together. As much as I enjoy this blog, the reality is, it does take time to prepare each post and then find the time to sit down and put everything together. I managed to get some pre spring cleaning done which is always a great feeling. Small clothes swapped for bigger clothes, winter for summer and storage boxes sorted through and tidied. My head had been feeling cloudy, and this tidy up certainly helped clear some air!

I had also been lucky enough to squeeze in a few fun things. In mid August, my lovely friend Mel, who lives up in Northern NSW invited me to join her and some girlfriends to attend Anneka Manning's Bakeclub Class which was held at Sophie Hanson's (Local is Lovely blog) Venison Farm in Orange. It was such a wonderful day and so worth the 14 hour round trip driving up to Orange. You can read more about the class here on Sophie's gorgeous blog. I can highly recommend Anneka's classes. Not only is she an amazing cook, but she is a great teacher and such a lovely, incredibly friendly and generous person. It was also lovely to meet Sophie, who is a fantastic host and made everyone feel so welcome at her gorgeous farm kitchen. If ever up near Orange, you must try and book in for a lunch at their farm. The class we did was all about pastry baking and I have to say I came home and made pastry every day for a week (slight overkill, but nothing beats homemade pastry, when it works!). My favourite recipe given by Anneka on the day was the Roasted Vegie Tart on a parmesan shortcrust pastry- just heavenly. We were also treated to a delicious lunch which Anneka and Sophie prepared for us during the class which included Blue Cheese & leek tarts, Chicken, Potato & thyme Pie, Vension Stout Pies, Spinach & Ricotta Pie and a Chocolate Pecan Tart. All amazingly delicious…..x
For anyone interested in attending a food styling and photography course being organised by Sophie this November….find more details here. This is definitely on my wishlist but I think Ive had my fun for the year! Im hoping she runs more next year….it sounds FANTASTIC!!!!


The other workshop I attended was at my friend Lisa's Flower School afternoon here in Echuca. 
A fun afternoon playing with flowers and meeting some lovely ladies.

Something else I was hoping to get on top of during the last few months was being more organised. I used to be organised, and then I had children! Normally these skills are supposed to improve but mine have got so bad of late. I love writing lists but dont always get everything ticked off at the end of the day. I have a diary which I have always used but for some reason I kept misplacing it and as a result not using it. I missed a few appointments, was late paying some bills and got a few dates mixed up, so I decided to go back to the old trusted calender system which I could position clearly in the kitchen and see what was going on- today, next week and all month.

I usually order calenders online through Shutterfly at the beginning of each year but this year…it just didnt happen. I also always fill the calender with our favourite photos of the kids taken throughout the previous years. Its always nice to reflect on what they looked like twleve months earlier. But as I was, um, dare I say, unorganised…and a tad time poor….I decided to change the theme of this years calender. I chose some photos I have taken and popped on instagram. Photos around the house- some of the garden, baking, etc. Its certainly no Country Style mag, but it brightens up the wall. And most importantly, I am feeling so much more organised because I see what we have on, when bills are due, when school holidays start and finish, preschool duty, playdates, visitors, etc. Another job ticked off the list!


There are lots of different companies you can choose to have calenders made with. In fact, the photo labs down at your local photo shop, K-Mart, Big W, Officeworks, etc all offer similar services too. Its a personal preference who you might like to use.

I have used Shutterfly the last 3 years and really happy with the price and quality. Loading photos takes a while so it pays to work out which ones you want to use and pop in a seperate file that you can easily upload. They have lots of themes and templates to choose from. Im very boring and just prefer a whole pic to page but if you feel the need for colour and patterns, there is plenty on offer. The other time consuming bit is entering in birthdays, annisversaries and other significant days. But once you have popped in your dates, as you have set up an account, it is remembered for future orders. Very handy!!! It is an american company so I did spend some time taking out the american holidays and adding the aussie days plus daylight savings, etc. This calender cost about $20 (with discount coupon) and was printed and delivered within the week. It really is a great service. I also adjusted the months so this calender started in July 2014 and goes through to end of June 2015. Yes- it caters for very unorganised folk like myself! These make great gifts for extended family especially at Christmas time, and especially ideal for those gifts that need posting! Just a thought….


On other news, Ive been working on a new business venture. Something I can do from home and juggle family as well as hopefully make a little bit of money. Im hoping to launch this new business in the next 2-3 weeks but will keep you all posted with whats going on. As a result, there will be a few changes with this blog. Actually, a complete makeover is the plan…but more of that in another week or so.

In the meantime, Thank you to everyone and anyone who has continued to follow my blog whilst Ive been underground. I hope to try and write a few posts a week but that will depend on family and home commitments…until next time xxx







Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday baking-Banana & Walnut Loaf


Somehow in our house over the past few weeks we have had an over supply of bananas. We usually add a bunch into the trolley each food shop, but we have been putting more in the trolley than the little banana fairies are consuming at home.


Normally I make muffins- each batch varies with whatever might be in pantry- choc chips, chia seeds, LSA, nuts, etc. Muffins are very popular in our house and moreso with me as it means I can leave them on the bench and let the kids help themselves. Plus they are super easy to freeze and even better to defrost when a certain unorganised mother requires a snack to feed hungary kids.

Today, however, I needed a change, especially considering there are quite a few bananas to bake through…..this loaf is for the grown ups although the little ones loved it equally.

Simple Banana & Walnut Loaf
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
125g melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
Optional-Handful of roughly chopped walnuts- to sprinkle on top!

Grease loaf tin and line with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius.
Mix wet ingredients together then add to dry ingredients. Mix well then pour into baking tin. Sprinkle roughly chopped walnuts on top.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top and skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool on rack.

Best served whilst warm and lathered with butter and a glass of milk!
If the loaf happens to last longer then a day, it makes for a yummy breakfast- toasted if you please- lathered in butter or some yoghurt and honey drizzled over the top….and coffee xx

How do you use up your old bananas??
Any favourite recipes?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

My afternoon at Wallingford's Flower School!


With the smell of spring so close now, I thought I would share some photos taken from my friend Lisa's, lovely flower workshops held a few weeks ago.



Lisa is a local florist here in Echuca, which if you have been reading this blog, you will have possibly read a post or two (here and here) about her lovely business, Wallingford Flowers. In between the busy wedding seasons, Lisa is now running various flower workshops catering for anyone interested in learning the art of floral arranging (and many other fun flowery things too!!). As a qualified teacher in the field, teamed with her 26 years experience in the industry, Lisa is bursting with knowledge and ideas. Her classes are fun, creative and very colourful!

Sunday week ago a group of ladies came together out at Lisa's Old Dairy to learn a few tips from the expert herself about putting together pretty jam jar bouquets. A wonderful way to escape for a few hours and be surrounded in the sunlit dairy by gorgeous fresh anemones, ranunculus, hyacinths, jonquils plus many other pickings from Lisa's garden.

Over champagne and nibblies, much chatter, laughter and lots of lovely flowers to play with, Lisa guided us through the basics of caring for cut flowers and then some simple techniques for putting together posies to scatter around your home.

Such a fun afternoon, meeting some new friends and going home with our creations feeling very motivated to ensure that I keep our house decked out with some pretty bouquets scattered around the house using what flowers and foliage I can find from the garden. Such a nice alternative use for the zillion jam jars I have sitting in my pantry too!!!



For more information on the Wallingford Flower School, head over to Wallingford Flowers Facebook page, 'like' and stay up to date on upcoming workshops.
You can also follow on Instagram (@wallingfordflowers), visit the website or contact Lisa on 0414 709376.





Thursday, 21 August 2014

Shopping Local with Flic Ward from Hide Road


Ive always had a bit of a love affair for anything made from a hide! Im not sure if has anything to do with the hide rug that lay on the living room of my grandparents house (a momento of a prize bullock from the year I was born) and a place where all the grandchildren rolled and played over for our entire childhood. Perhaps it is just the inner country girl within me and having grown up on a sheep and cattle property. I love the feel, the smell and that every hide is individual. And, they are made to last forever!

Fast forward twenty or so years, my first year of uni and saving up to buy an Ella Maiden hide bag…..my pride and joy! A few years later I stumbled across another hide find… my poco profile cow hide filafax (sentimentally named Sydney- reflective of my uni years spent living there!). Another twenty years on, and both these items are still treasured pieces. As for my grandparents hide rug, its still around too.

So, whilst scrolling through instagram a few months ago, I discovered Hide Road- a wonderful australian owned business selling gorgeous locally made purses, clutches, belts and totes. Flic Ward is a busy Mum from Narromine who has also always had a love for anything hide. Having always wanted to have her own business selling her own hide designs, Flic started Hide Road at the beginning of this year. Already her business is growing very quickly and word spreading through the social media pipelines!  

Today, we are fortunate to have Flic drop by and tell us more about her wonderful business. As you will see below, she is one stylish, busy mummy and has a great sense of humour! A lovely story how a country mum followed her passion and now juggling a growing business and the joys of family life.


 Hide Road goodies available at Ruby Maine, Narromine.

 Now available at The Moree Gallery!

Flic Ward on Hide Road-

I often say that the beauty of the beast is in a bag and I have found lately, that every time I see a cow, I see a clutch!

I am what my mother calls a ‘straight line stitcher’ and a ‘non sewer’!   I can go straight backwards and forwards and that’s it!   I know what I want but just can’t do it myself – so I have a great team I work with, my belts are all made locally in Dubbo and my bags are made in various locations around NSW – they are all cut, stitched, loving put together all by hand.   I have effectively tapped into a wealth of knowledge, talent and work ethic that is so amazing and SO Australian!

I painstakingly choose every hide (it is so important to me that they are 100% Australian). I agonize over the leather for the straps. I tick off the zips and buckles we use. My darling Mum (who can sew!) makes the calico dust bags. My dear Dad made the first HIDE ROAD leather stamp. My husband has been know to sit up with me into the wee hours packing orders and stamping tags and the lining is a bit of a group effort between my children and I!

This might be an idea, that has been in my head for years but it is most definitely my family's business!

I started Hide Road in January this year.  We have not been going that long but we have big plans and worldwide domination might have been mentioned!

I really felt it was time to do something for me. I’ve been a stay home mum for almost 8 years now and I love that role; for me there is nothing better than raising your family - my children Macarthur (7), Topsy (5) & Dusty (3) are seriously the best things in the world, but my days of nappy changing, warming bottles and toilet training are over.    I wanted something that could evolve, grow and be flexible enough to fit in with my family and P&F meetings.

I have been so fortunate with FB & Instagram- all of my stockists and sales have come directly from that (we are currently stocked in about 10 different stores throughout VIC & NSW) and our website is growing in visitor numbers and purchases all the time and we sell out quite quickly which baffles and excites me!

Our new season range is coming off in the next couple of months; there will be bright coloured leathers, a few different tote bags and of course more hide!

I am always on the look out for opportunities, more stores to stock (wholesales enquiries are welcome please email hideroad@outlook.com).  You can find us at the Handmade Markets in October in Canberra and hopefully a few more markets in November and December (I can’t say yet as I am waiting on to hear back!)

I am having loads of fun with HR and that, I have discovered is the most important thing!


The infamous tote…..sigh!

1. How would describe your style?
I definitely dress for comfort (three little kids don’t allow for anything else!).  I’m always in flats or ankle boots, skinny leg jeans, t-shirts etc (you get the picture!) and I am not afraid of colour, be it fluro pink ballets or bright yellow earrings. 

I’d like to think I am a little stylish – but now that I have said it out loud I just don’t know!!   My friend just described me as a ‘trendy mum’ not sure I would agree but I am flattered – and I might as well run with that!


2. Three things you can't live without at the moment?
My Hide Road Tote! Holds everything I need, as well as everything my 3yr old son Dusty needs!
Skinny Legs Jeans – they are the go to for me everyday in winter.
My limited edition Ray Bans from last season, the coolest things I have ever bought.
And Coffee!


3. What do you love most about your business?
Every day I get to play with a product (hide) that I have had a life long obsession with.   I still have the hide wallet my mum gave me 20 odd years ago and I still love it.

I am quite a picky person and I like I have created something that to me is perfect!  And I do get quite a kick out of selling it – thinking and knowing that someone else is like me and LOVES the HR product as much as I do!

It also is about fulfilling a dream- that little idea that has been toying in the back of my head for years is now a product that people and other stores buy, and that is pretty amazing!

4. Diamonds or Pearls?
 Diamonds…… always diamonds!

5. Favourite online store/s?
FASHION - boring I know, but I shop at lot at countryroad.com.au.
KIDS – you can’t beat cottonon.com.au
ACCESSORIES – hideroad.com!!

6.  What do you love most about living in the country?
 I grew up in Gunnedah in Northern NSW so I am born and bred country girl. I spent 10 years or so in Sydney and I loved it, but I love the space and way of life that comes with country living. I now live in Narromine with my husband and three babies and I would not give it up for a second. I live in a beautiful and vibrant community and that is what I love most about country life.

7. Best coffee from...
Ruby Maine in Narromine. They serve Toby’s Estate and its brilliant, so so yummy!

8. Favourite items from your winter wardrobe?
Probably my Maya McQueen ankle boots – whenever I wear them I feel a little fancy!

9. An average day for you entails….
A three year old that is out of bed at an ungodly hour and two other children who like to sleep in!  School lunch box packing that I try every morning to reinvent and make interesting (and fail!). School drop off, coffee and more coffee. A few hours in the HR office packing orders and working on new designs and new ideas!   On the days when Dusty (my youngest) is not at preschool or daycare, then there will be a few hours spent amongst it all playing farms and ‘what’s the time Mr. wolf!’, school pick up, soccer & footy training, boring homework, dinner and bed!   And of course housework and laundry!

10. Most favourite way to unwind?
Sundays at home with my children and my husband, just us hanging out together.
And…Maybe a glass of wine at the end of each of day!

Some more gorgeous HR goodness available from Paper Pear in Wagga Wagga

From Hide Road with love xx

For your dose of some good hide 'deliciousness', pop over to Hide Road and have a look!
So many lovely pieces that will have you adding to your wish list…..perfect timing with Christmas only a few more months away!

Details-
Follow on Instagram
and Facebook

Images courtesy of Hide Road Facebook page

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Catching Up With Lisa O'Connell from Wallingford Flowers, Echuca

Its been a month or so since our last "Catching up with" series, but todays guest is a real treat for anyone who loves flowers. And let's face it- who doesn't? 

Introducing the lovely Lisa O'Connell from Wallingford Flowers, Echuca. You may remember Lisa from a recent post I did sharing some photos of her amazing garden studio where she operates her business from.

Lisa is a very talented florist who is well known in the area for her amazing ability to transform any function room into a gorgeous flower show that will leave you gasping! With 26 years experience up her creative sleeve, Lisa specialises mainly in weddings. She is also a very keen gardener and although most of her flowers she buys in, her garden does provide her with a good supply of David Austen roses, seasonal flowers and lots of lavender which grows in abundance along with the many rose bushes up Lisa's front driveway. 

Lisa is incredibly passionate about her flower business and creating a personalised and unique floral arrangements for each of her clients. A background in teaching floristry has led her to also run workshops from her dairy studio which is another way Lisa can expel some more of her creativity and special talents.

So, without wasting any more time, below is a rather large handful of questions for Lisa and a chance for you to get to know her better. If you are considering "tying the knot" in the Echuca/Moama area or a party that requires some flower love, I would highly recommend getting in contact with Lisa too!

As an extra treat to add to Lisa's interview, if you scroll right down to the bottom of this post you will find a music clip I am really enjoying at the moment (let's say it gets played quite a bit in our house!!). The kids love the video (watch it and you will know why!). Press play and listen to it whilst reading about Lisa and checking out all these stunning images- which I might add have been taken by two very talented local photographers- Tamara Cadd Photography & Cindy Power Photography.




1. Describe your style?
Friends and family often laugh at the fact I am a bit of a chameleon.  One day I may be in designer heels and frocks, full hair and make-up, the next day hanging out in the dust/mud of the paddocks in my work pants with built in knee pads, and work boots.  My work with flowers is similar- I make things for others, so I try to see what their style, or vision is and make it happen for them. So I get to create many varied things-  although in all honesty I tend to attract customers that like similar things to me, so it's really quite easy!
2. What you love most about your job?
I love when people trust me enough to say, do whatever you think will work. When they say, I want something people haven’t seen before - as quite often I will be decorating a venue half the people have been to many times.  I will spend countless hours thinking of ideas and concepts, quite often drawing ideas and sketches at 3am- a strangely productive time for me!
Also unpacking flowers is a sheer joy, especially when you know an order has materialized, sometimes many hours of planning and ordering go into a function.  You never really know for sure until the beautiful fresh blooms are in front of you.


3. Favourite flower?
Gardenia ( I was given 5 boxes to make my bouquet as a wedding present by Carolyn whom I did my apprenticeship under ). My favourite bouquet I ever made. I finished it at 2 am the night before our wedding.
4. Three things you can't live without at the moment?
Family, garden, tea.
5. Favourite scent?
Tuberose.
6. Where do you seek inspiration and ideas from?
I follow many overseas designers. Also many brides come to me with great ideas - I just need to make them!
7. What do you love most about living in the Echuca area?
Most definitely the people, or maybe the restaurants - Ok both!
8. Most loved colour combination at the moment?
Pale blue, any pale blue flower melts my heart. 
9. Your morning ritual is…..
Again with the chameleon, some days I am at a spin class at 6am followed by a productive morning organizing family, cleaning house, to be in the garden by 10am.
(Until recently several people in my gym class, thought I was two different people - I look different with no make-up and my red curly hair in a tight bun apparently).
 If I have a wedding and the weather is hot I will start a 4 or 5am in the dairy, to make everything as fresh as possible, or alternatively I have been know to wait till last service in Oscar W’s 10.30 pm to set up for a wedding the next day, leaving when the staff knock off at 1am, then return at 8am to finish.   I will then start at 8am on Sundays to take everything out, so they are ready for lunch service.
Some days I like to not get out of bed until I have had at least 2 cups of tea!
10. Are you an early riser or night owl??
Again both, depends on what I need to do that week,  I feel very lucky to self indulge and work all night if I am in the mood.  Or not!
(note: work sometimes involves pinterest!!!)
11. Favourite season and why?
That is really hard for me, as I have favourite parts to them all. 
Autumn – Autumn leaves, cooler nights, best weather in Echuca for weddings, best planting time, bulbs start.  Nerines, and roses in the garden at the same time
Winter – Winter hellebores, ranunculus, lily of the valley, forget-me-not, anemones, stock oh and another favourite daphne.  Brides should get married in winter for the fragrance alone!!
Spring – Peony need I say more? ok sweet pea.
Summer- The succulents come into their own, roses show why they are to be revered, and respected.

















Just press play, sit back (or bop along) and enjoy these stunning photos of Lisa's work…..xx
Music- In Your Arms by Kina Grannis



Special Thanks to Tamara Cadd Photography and Cindy Power Photography for sharing their beautiful images. 

Details-
Wallingford Flowers-"Wallingford", 9179 Murray Valley Highway, Echuca, Victoria, 3564
www.wallingfordflowers.com.au
Phone Lisa on 0414 709376
Or follow on Facebook ,Instagram and Pinterest

Tamara Cadd Photography- www.tamaracaddphotography.com.au

Cindy Power Photography- www.cindypowerphotography.blogspot.com.au