Sunday, August 31, 2014

London Day 1


So we made it.  Twenty four hours in a plane is akin to torture, but it is so worth it.  Here is a pictorial essay of Day 1 London.  We arrived in the city at 8am and could not get into our room until 11am.  That was tricky, but we did it.  Our room is in Drury Lane Covent Garden at the budget end of the scale, but what a fabulous location it is.  Great bars, restaurants, shops, theatres and oh the atmosphere.....It's positively buzzing.  I will bring you a whole post on Covent Garden and it sure is the place to be.

We thought a river cruise would be best on our first day as we could just sit and drink it all in.  This cruise is included in our London Pass, Another full post on that soon, as it's great value.



Big Ben


The London Eye


Tower Bridge and The Belfast 


A London Bus. Two icons in one


Drury Lane There are loads of dance shops in the Thearte District where we are.


The Shard, London's newest icon.  The latest penthouse sale was 60 million pounds.  Don't be sad if you missed out.  There is a one bedroom apartment for sale for 30 million pounds.


The Gerrkin


Borris Johnson's new digs.  City Hall, affectionately known as the bike helmet.


The Thames



Battle of Britain memorial is fabulous


I love that the women are a big part of the memorial.





Tower of London


City Cruises.  Someone was really feeling it and pretty much missed the lot.


Covent Garden rocks



This will be us tonight after a bit of sleep.



Can't wait to bring you more.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Crazy Exciting Week

I am a virgo, so I am pretty organised for the trip, but my relaxed state is making me nervous.

There is also the matter of the Icelandic volcano which is threatening to erupt and subsequently shut down all the air space over Europe and also a sick kid.
Despite all this, I am hoping to make the plane by weeks end.  When I finally do, I will be kicking back big time.

I have not organised any posts for this week as I already feel like I am on holidays .  I think a little break now will motivate me to bring you lots of photos and posts from France and the UK from next week.

Make sure you following in some way, so I can take you on our journey.

You can find me on
and instagram @desireempire

I am hoping to keep all these platforms updated at least with shots of beautiful French food and brocante.

Speaking of French Brocante, this is how I am packing so that I have plenty of room to fit it in, on the return journey.


I also hope to pick up some clothing bargains in London.

And this is how I will gain access to those suitcases more easily.
Colour coded padlocks.  


Life is all about experience and memory making for me now.  Although I always want to live in nice surroundings, the house is secondary to me these days. I just want to travel and drink in all life has to offer.

See you on the other side.........of the planet that is.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Beach Cottage Decor

Beach Cottage Decor

This beach cottage was rather lovely the last time it came up for sale.  The new owners then set about improving it even further.  They have enlarged the master bedroom.  The living and kitchen spaces have been transformed into a beautiful open plan space flowing out onto a deck over looking the huge north south face block of land and the pool.  This house is classic Avalon beach cottage, encompassing all that goes with the relaxed beach lifestyle.  An easy walk to village and beach completes the picture.  If you are a serious player, this lovely home is definitely worth considering.

You will find a detailed features and a floor plan here.












I hope you have a lovely weekend

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Frozen Movie Party Table


Frozen Movie Party Table

As you know I am not a lover of  traditional sugar laden party food. 

As some of my little charges were staying over for the slumber party, I decided on feeding them a proper dinner, rather than than all the usual party food suspects.  It kept the menu simple as well. We had spaghetti bolognaise, which most kids happily eat. I thought it would be nice for the girls to sit up together and have a kind of dinner party.


That gave me the opportunity to style up a pretty Frozen tablescape, which all the girls were in awe of.  I used IKEA snowflakes and their fabulous snowflake lights weaved in amongst some conifer foliage, to create a Nordic feel.


I made a pretty installation over the table using my chandelier.  Please don't look at the bit that needs sanding on the ceiling.  Again I used those handy IKEA snowflakes and stitched them onto glitter ribbon in silver and blue,which I picked up at Spotlight.  The lanterns were Shmick brand and I picked them up at the local $2 shop.


As for the entertainment, we did pin the tail on the donkey, as provided by Mr Beach House.  Being a boat designer finally came in handy around the house.  Would you believe the tails we used came out of a party set, I had as a kid.  Sometimes it pays to hang on to things.  It was the first time most of the kids had played this game and they loved it.  In hindsight, I probably should have been pin the carrot nose on Olaf the snowman.  Next time perhaps.


The thing that entertained the girls the most though, was this karaoke machine, as supplied by grandma.  I decided to try and get a Frozen CD at the 11th hour, so they would know a few songs to sing.  I didn't hold out much hope of finding the CD, considering how hard it was to get the Else Princess outfit (Warriewood Square on the stall outside Athlete's Foot if you are in the market for one.)  We almost settled on getting the Grease album.  Just as I was about to give up hope, there it was, the last Frozen CD, sitting alone on the shelf.  I picked it up, fist pumped the air and shouted woohoo.  A guy idled up to me in the store and said.  "If I knew you wanted it that much, you could have had our copy and here, take my daughter, she knows all the songs."  It's amazing how the marketing juggernaut captures the interest of these kids and anything associated with the Frozen movie sells like hot cakes.


 The karaoke machine was an absolute hit and filled in quite a bit of time.  One of the shyest kids ended up becoming the microphone hog, which was pretty funny.  Whilst 2 sang Frozen songs on rotation, the others played with my daughter's girly lego set. Perfect.



We also did some beading to make bracelets and windmill crafting.  The kids have all reported back that they really enjoyed the party. With the big trip coming up, I was on a strict budget and determined not to invest in an entertainer.


Want to see how I put the cake together and the lemonade stand we used to greet the guest? Well you can check them out here.

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Feathered Nest Friday

Monday, August 18, 2014

Easy Frozen Birthday Cake For a Girls Party


Easy Frozen Birthday Cake For a Girls Party

In anticipation of the Littlest Beach House Brat's birthday party, I was given the brief as follows.  "I want a Frozen slumber party mum."

I wasn't sure any of the other mums would agree the slumber part was a good idea, but we put it out there and got a couple of takers for a sleep over.  In my mind, 2 guests was the perfect number of  extra little girls to look after overnight, so I set about sorting out all the details for the party.  A couple of other girls came to the party, but didn't feel comfortable staying over, so they were picked up at the end of the night and that worked well too.


Now to organise the cake.  I decided on a square cake. We were inspired by the end of the movie when the snow begins to melt.  So all I did was frost the cake in white and then create a bit of blue frosting with food dye and created a little part of the sea in one corner, so as to suggest the snow was receding. 


I used pine trees and IKEA snow flakes from my Christmas decoration stash and had also sent off for a set of six cake toppers from a link on ebay here.  The cake toppers only cost $10 AUD and took about 3 weeks to arrive, so this is not a cake you can organise in a week.  The candles and "Happy Birthday" sign were from Coles.

As usual we pay alot more in Australia.   If you buy the equivalent cake toppers in Australia they are over $30.


Someone really loved it.

Madam also wanted to use the lemonade stand I had put together months ago and promised she could have at her next birthday.  So we set up some cupcakes and lemonade for her little guests to receive upon arrival.


Princess Else loved the whole affair and I shall reveal more in my next post, when I show you how I set up a Frozen party table and decorative installation over the table. Also how I entertained the kids, without spending a bomb on an entertainer.

Edit:  See the Frozen party table here.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Kensington Boat House London


This West Kensington converted Boathouse has views across the Thames River and Hammersmith Bridge.  Beautifully appointed with some original Georgian features, this abode is completely stunning, with 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, sleeping 9-12 people.  This would be a lovely home to rent for a family or group booking in London.  Imagine dropping in for a drink at the ancient Dove Riverside Tavern, or taking in a play at the Hammersmith Apollo.  Make sure you read the full story on this lovely home when you drop by to find out more.


















I hope you enjoyed a tour of this gorgeously stylish home in London.  Have a wonderful weekend.

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Today I am linked up here
Weekend Rewind
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