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Picnic Party

5 May

The weather is just gorgeous today. It makes me want to be outside and not stuck indoors.

And picnic is what comes to mind first !

So, if you have a special occasion planned…why not take it outside?

It can be as stylish and pretty as any indoor occasion.

All you need is a few details…

To turn your picnic from an ordinary outing into an unforgettable occassion…don’t take the easy route of simply pulling out store-bought items. Trust me – it is not too much effort to fill your own bottles with a mix like rooibos punch to which you can add a little passion fruit pulp, put the water in a pitcher with fresh lemon and leaves, add a vase with flowers even if you are in a beautiful park or forest… and you can be sure that your guests will notice  that you did not simply “show up”…they will know that you are happy to be there with them  and you were preparing for this day long before they got their picnic blankets out !

Do I even need to say this?

Colour-co-ordinate – yes, EVERYTHING, including the food… is KEY …. it brings your picnic all into one spot without being lost in the big open spaces.

Keep your eyes open in the shops and soon enough  you will easily find foods that fit the bill for your colour scheme of the day!

Add some really special touches by reminding everyone what or who the event is for, by adding a name to a vase or container or any item on your table (especially if it is for someone as cute and adorable as our dearest cousin who was the guest of honour at this event !).  In this case, scrapbook letters were stuck onto the vase – they are ready-made (forget tracing and cutting – because let’s  be honest – who has time for that??!….., they are pre-glued and they can be removed easily. Instant glamour. What more do you need? Find them at any scrapbook supply store.

And no special occasion can be complete without putting a fabulous cake forward – and because it is a picnic, this topping was perfect remembering that you are out there in Nature!   Fresh lavender and strawberries…..with chocolate flakes … yum !

(All photo credits : Grethe)

To give credit for this topping idea, I need to point you to the recipe book where I originally found it – called PASELLA (found in bookstores in South Africa).

It is a butternut cake – doesn’t that just sounds interesting to start with?!

If you want to give it a try:

Butternut Cake

Pan size – 15×15 cm square or 23 cm round

Sunflower Oil – 250 ml (1 cup)

Sugar – 375 ml (1.5cup) (300g)

Eggs – 3

Pecan Nuts, chopped – 125 ml (1/2 cup)

Sultanas – 125 ml (1/2 cup) (80 g)

Butternut Squash, grated – 1 small (500g)

* can replace half of butternut with apple

Canned pineapple, crushed – 125 ml (1/2 cup)

Flour – 500 ml (2 cups) (240 g)

Cinnamon – 10 ml (2t)

Baking powder – 5 ml (1t)

Bicorbanate of soda – 5ml (1t)


Pre-heat oven to 160 C.

Place baking paper at bottom of cake pan

Mix the oil, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl.

Mix the sultanas, nuts, butternut and pineapple into the sugar/egg mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mix till well-mixed.

Scoop into prepared pan.

Bake approximately 45 minutes.


200 ml soft butter

1 l (4 cups) icing sugar (520 g)

15 ml (1 T) vanilla

250 g cream cheese


Cream butter and sugar together.

Add vanilla and then stir cream cheese in.

Add topping over cake till it runs over the sides.

Top with cinnamon sticks or chocolate flake, strawberries and lavender.

Sprinkle with powder sugar.

And wait for your guests to ooh and aah after this ! I repeat – wait for the ooh and aah’s – especially your health conscious friends.

But you can use any alternative cake under this festive topping. In this case, it was substituted by a Guinness cake from Nigella Lawson. And worked wonders. What else can you expect from Nigella’s kitchen?

If you dont’ get hung up on having walnuts and little carrots on your carrot cake, I am sure a carrot cake will do the trick under that topping as well!

And another winner for the day were these Cinnamon Crunch Cobbler Muffins. They are yummy and they pull apart … great for replacing an ordinary muffin into one that have your guests asking for the recipe ! With chopped pecans and lots of butter, this picture can really not tell you how yummy and gooey they are…it is after all a PARTY !

If you want the recipe – e-mail me at and I will be more than happy to mail it to you !

Your party can be perfect – even as a picnic. The difference is really just in the details !

Enjoy the lovely weather everyone.

And do tell me if you love picnics ! Or where your favorite picnic spot is !!


Party Style – Spring is here….

13 Mar

Today I want to start another series on my blog! Simply called Party Style.

My big passion lies in setting a scene for an event and I decided to pursue it more.

In this series I will feature some “teasers” for table settings which will hopefully inspire you when you host a little get together of your own. When you put a little passion into preparing for the next party, it will surely shows.  It is always nice when friends know that you took a little extra care preparing for the time you share.

Today we kick off the series inspired by SPRING.

Spring is here…..Winter is gone (well, supposedly !).

Why not celebrate by inviting a few friends over for a casual chat and dust off the winter blues with a bright, cheerful setting that will certainly invite the sun out !

I used the fresh flowers that I got from the market to inspire the rest of my color scheme.

Candles always add in creating atmosphere –  be it day or night when you entertain. Light a candle – especially if it has a lovely fragrance complimenting the fragrance of the flowers.

Color coördination is key to make visual impact. Make sure everything matches perfectly. It pleases the eye. Detail will make the difference ! When you have a table-cloth that has a design, try to stick to plain color napkins, plates and glasses. It gets too busy if you put cups and plates with a design on a table-cloth that has a print already. The same goes vice versa – you can use printed plates or glasses or pretty napkins when you use your table-cloth as an undertone of color.

Napkins always provide great opportunity to add a little something extra if you have time for a little effort and attention to detail. Make your own “napkin rings” with any small, inexpensive ornament and a ribbon.

If you are in my area, and you need help or a consultation on planning and preparing the space for your next elite it a special birthday, a baby shower, a dinner, a business reception or any elite occasion that needs a bit more brainstorming than you feel capable of, contact me via e-mail for help at

Hope the weather will allow us all to have a happy Spring-inspired celebration with the beautiful colors that are awaiting us all this Spring despite all the devastation brought upon us in the world over the last couple of days! Our thoughts are with all those who suffered tremendous losses and chaos and our hopes are for speedy relief !


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