Dec 7, 2016

Summer-ish In Sydney. The Party Countdown Begins.

Summer in Sydney.  

Blue skied, touched by the golden sun and pleasantly warm one day...

and horribly wet and humid for several days after.  I took this photo on the way home from work on Monday and several days later, the view is much the same.  Only my car is much cleaner on the outside than it was when the rain first started.  Gotta be happy with that.

But at least we have Ikea.  And Ikea at Christmas, no less.  The scent of buttery baked goods and spice scented candles in the air, softly glowing stars with Nordic motifs suspended from the ceiling, shelves filled with the pretty, functional and irresistible  I wonder if the feel good vibes of entering an Ikea store inside stores in Sweden as they are in stores internationally.  Does entering a little microcosm of Sweden whilst in Sweden diminish the feel good factor at all, I wonder?  Deep questions for another day...

Here are some of my favourites from Ikea's vision for vinter.  That last sentence just came to me and I love it so much that I'm running with it - it's been a vintery kind of summer for us this week after all.

Ikea's vision for the season includes chocolate making,

gardening with a pair of shears I choose to call Jackfruit rather than the Jackfrukt of the packaging.

and a touch of home baking with Ikea's own muffin mixes.

I dug deep and resisted the powerful urge to put all (or none) of the above into my sky blue Ikea shopping bag and instead only left with what I came for.  Serviettes and a few bottles of sparkling fruit juice for The Party.

Speaking of The Party. It's getting awfully close and I'm a bit stressed to be honest.

Thoughts keeping me awake at night (or at least whilst I wait in peak hour traffic) and the conversations that go on inside my head around them:

  • Will there be enough food (most definitely)
  • Will the children like the food (probably if we're talking all the snakes and chips that Preschooler SSG chose, could be dicey with the things I'm making)
  • Will the parents be good for 2 hours of high energy shenanigans in a rather small garden (is there anything a cheese board, sushi and bubbles can't ease the pain of?)
  • Will the gift bags hit that sweet spot where both child and parent will be happy with the contents?  I've not included any food in ours this year but the flip side is that there will be another bag of 'stuff' that needs to be packed away at home.  I really, really hope the felt tips are water soluble.  Perhaps I'd better test out the musical instruments in case they're too loud.

I'm overthinking it.  I know I am.  It will all work out and nobody else will actually be that fussed about any of the above.

Do you have a beauty or other non chocolate themed Advent Calendar for yourself this Christmas?  I'm really enjoying The Body Shop's so far.  It's been lovely to have a little something to enjoy each evening.

See what I mean about nightly treats?  Loving the witty packaging too.

There have been so many lovely surprises in my Body Shop calendar already.  Day 6's was a tub of vanilla chai body butter.  I'm looking forward to using it tonight.

Being a practical person, I confronted my party nerves and dealt with them by baking.  At 5 in the morning on my day off but whatever.  'Being productive that early in the morning can only set you up for an entire day of efficiency and getting things done' intoned my inner voice as I measured, sieved, stirred and scooped.

The recipe I used was from Sally's Baking Addiction and it's her recipe for Sparkling Jumbo Blueberry Muffins.  I adapted the baking time and technique for mini muffins as per Sally's notes at the end of the recipe.

Sally's theory is that baking first for a few minutes at around 200C causes the muffins to rise and before you turn the oven down for the rest of the baking time.  You don't need to do this for mini muffins though.  I regret not switching my trays halfway through baking because I could only get the top tray to rise perfectly. I haven't tried any of my muffins yet (have frozen them for Saturday) but Preschooler SSG was very happy with his taste test yesterday.

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