Make the House ‘Christmassy’ with Willow Floral

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas?

One of my favourite florists, Katrin of Willow Floral Design, is once again inspiring  you to get your home looking and smelling festive before Santa comes. Katrin Lilla has been a Florist for more than 15 years and is a qualified Florist Master and has also worked as a Teacher in floristry at a Technology and Vocational Education Centre in Germany. Katrin is passionate and enthusiastic about her profession and loves to share it in her workshops and demonstrations.

Whether you pick one or two classes or enrol for the full course, I know you’ll enjoy sharing cookies, chocolate and other goodies while being creative, learning,  andgetting into the Christmas Spirit!

Wednesday  24 November:  Christmas wreathes/Garlands for your door, to attract Santa, or a garland for your fireplace, Create a traditional Xmas decoration to bring a seasonal touch into your home

Wednesday  1 December: Topiaries in funky shapes from miniature Xmas trees for a reception desk or a little give away or just a nice treat for your table/ corner at home

Wednesday 8 December: Table arrangements using a container of your choice….from traditional to modern arrangements

Wednesday 15 December: Christmas Posies using frames, Xmas baubles, cinnamon, star anise, pine cones, silver and gold details, interesting greenery, with that Xmas scent

Classes are available including material or excluding materials
Including materials – a basic selection of flowers/greenery/ accessories will be provided $30/ class
Excluding materials- please enquire before course begin what to bring $15 / class

If the course is fully booked [max 12 per class] there will be the opportunity for an additional course with same themes on the Thursday night.

Due to the traditionally high demand for these classes, you will need to book in and pay in full prior to course. Enquire instore at Willow or email Katrin with your enquiry.

Happy Holidays!


¿ʇuıod ƃuıddıʇ ɹnoʎ ɹɐǝu ƃuıʇʇǝƃ

Between Christmas shopping and finalising details for your summer wedding plans, you’d be excused if
¡ʎǝʌɹnʇ ʎsdoʇ ʇıq ǝlʇʇıl ɐ slǝǝɟ plɹoʍ ɹnoʎ

That’s when the Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store really comes into its own. When you need a little haven of calm in the chaos, you can always find it here! There’s still a mass of great information and inspiration for planning your wedding, and I’m even taking on Christmas!

If you’ve run out of inspiration for Christmas, run into The Corner Store – we’ve got gifts you won’t have seen anywhere else in town. Excuse the infomercial, but we’ve got such great ideas for romantic stocking stuffers, and orignal gifts from the heart, I just can’t help myself!

In the gifts under $10.00 category:

The latest new arrival in Th’Store  are soap cupcakes from Soap-Alicious – deliciously decadent in rose, strawberry, lavender, and citrus, or a very seasonal Christmas Pud! At $9.50 for a texas muffin sized serving, they’re too good to pass up!

We also have Fisherman’s Soap in store – an organic, ocean friendly aniseed scented soap that lathers in sea water, masking human scent and attracting fish – Packaged in a cute jute net, it’s a great something extra for the fishermen in your life!

We have tiny, tempting, tastes of Christmas – gift boxes of Kerstien’s fudge, or Christmas cookies and cake, and a variety of men’s, women’s and kid’s skin care and pamper packs.

We even have: heart-shaped playing cards, romantic snow-globes, beach wear, fragranced firestarters for your brazier, candles, candies… in fact, glancing around Th’Store, I’d say there’s more in store under $10 than anything else!

So why not pop in and fill your boots stockings  from our range of ‘one-of-a-kind’ gifts.

The Corner Store will be open Monday-Friday 10am-2pm, and other times by arrangement until Christmas Eve.

I’m taking a break from Th’Store between Christmas and NewYears, but if there’s anything you need, you know you can call me and I’ll do what I can to help out!

Wishing you the happiest holidays,


A little sweetness: Bomboniere and Wedding Favors

Mmm-mmn! I have  just eaten the most delicious chocolate of my life!

Nicola  from Simply Chocolate brought a few sample pieces into The Corner Store. In spite of my best intentions, they were impossible to resist, and all my good intentions of sharing the chocolate love melted away in a few sticky mouthfuls. I’m not, by any means, a chocolate snob, but these chocolates were truly in a class of their own! Anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to bite into the haz-mat orange sludge that passes for mandarin in most chocolate brands, then you absolutely have to get your hands on some of these beauties. Chocolate dipped lemon curd doesn’t even touch the edges of it!

Really good chocolate is perfect for wedding table favors [or, to be fancy, bomboniere]

The word bomboniere means ‘a little sweetness’ and is a tradition that began in late 16th Century France, quickly becoming popular in Italy, Greece and Southern Europe. Sugared almonds are the most traditional form of bomboniere given to guests by brides and grooms. They are commonly given in sets of 5, representing a wish for happiness, health, wealth, fertility and long life. Gifts also range from chocolates, candies, even bottles of wine with personalised labels.
Personally, I think bomboniere generally falls into the category of ‘needless expense’, but don’t mind me <grin> If you want to give your guests something special, here are a few alternative ideas that won’t cost the earth, but will have lasting impact:

Rather than giving every guest an identical token gift, why not personalise gifts for your bridal party, and a few close family and friends [ perhaps as they are leaving, hand them a ‘morning after kit’ containing  aspirin, antacid, toothbrush and paste, deodorant [clean undies?], facial wipes, hairbrush… …and a name badge, in case they forget who they are <grin>

You could simply  place “refresher baskets” in the bathrooms, with small packages of breath mints, aspirin, combs, hand lotion, tissues, safety pins, wet wipes, hairspray, etc.

It’s always nice to have something special for the kids – to a child, a wedding is mostly long stretches of tedium interspersed with moments of crushing boredom. Kids packs could include bubbles, stickers, colouring book & crayons, small puzzles or a mini game, something to snack on, and maybe even a disposable camera.

Seriously though, just because guests have been trained to anticipate a favor, you really don’t HAVE to have them at all. When you add up all the tiny costs, perhaps it would be better to spend that money on a delivery of flowers or fresh fruit the day after the wedding, to really thank friends or family who helped behind the scenes to make sure your wedding day ran smoothly. You could arrange gift vouchers for a facial or massage as a meaningful thankyou for your bridal party and/or new in-laws. Tracy at Corporate Boxes creates a truly stunning range of gift boxes, with keepsake items and luscious little snacks that are always welcome!

Your little sweetness will be the sweeter for just a little extra thought !

Whining about Art…

Wait! No, I meant WINE!

Kaimira Ventures [Kaimira and Brightside Wines]  tasting room / art gallery opens for the summer, from Labor Weekend! Their gallery in Brightwater is packed with an changing display of works by local artists. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon than by browsing some of the best established and emerging local talent while sipping a glass or two of extremely excellent wine?!

What makes it excellent, aside from the fact that it’s delicious, is that it’s also local, grown sustainably, to organic standards, the whole process is certified carbon neutral, and… it tastes great!

Ian and June, Principals of Kaimira are known locally, not just for their wine [did I mention it was good?] but also for their sponsorship of NMIT’s Fine Arts and Hospitality & Tourism Schools.  Kaimira are sponsors of the local arts community, from Opera in the Park, through to the Wakefield Nouveau Design Awards, and the Buskers Street theatre – with a real focus on supporting young talent – dancers, musicians and artists – keeping it local, and keeping it fresh.

Not only that, but if you ask them nicely, they’ll even bottle your selection of wines with personalised labels for your wedding! I’m a fan!

Kaimira Ventures

Happy Anniversary Baby! [competition]

Odd Fact of the Day: The Corner Store opened for the first time on a Wednesday. That’s because it happened to be my Grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary. Having stuffed up their last major anniversary gift [I knitted them a beautiful emerald green rug, before realising it was their DIAMOND anniversary… duh!] I  figured it was a as good of a way as any to honour Great Nana Chris and Big Poppa Joe.
Once my thinking processes get started, they’re hard to rein in, so now  I’m wondering how in the world we came up with the official wedding anniversary “gift by year” list?

I’d really like to know who was the genius that decided you “should” celebrate with groceries for your 44th wedding anniversary? Where is the romance in that? For starters, by the time you’ve been married 44 years you’ve probably already shopped for groceries more than 2,000 times!  Sure, it’s not easy coming up with 60 different gifts, but… groceries? appliances?? porcelain?

It’s obviously time to add some Wedding Whisperer style to that list, and I’d love you to help me. Let’s come up with some creative alternatives for these oddball anniversary traditions… For instance, the first anniversary gift is traditionally paper. Wellll…. airline, concert or sports event tickets are paper, too! Or, if it MUST be groceries, how about if you shopped for those groceries in Auckland. Or Paris — yeah, THAT sounds more like it!

Here’s the list of traditional anniversary gifts. Email me with your alternatives, and I’ll add them in. Not only will you help change a tradition, you’ll get the chance to win a fantastic haircare package valued at over $80.
EDIT TO ADD: Congrats to our winner, Kelly, whose twisted sense of humour has had me chuckling on and off all day! [see below]

Traditional Gift/Gemstone/Official Modern Gift/Wedding Whisperer twist /Kelly’s version
1st: Paper /Gold/Clocks / love letter, message in a bottle, tickets for an event, vouchers, framed personal wedding vows
2nd:  Cotton/Garnet /China or bisque porcelain/ new pyjamas, parasol, beach equipment, chinese food
3rd:  Leather/Pearl/Crystal, Glass/ designer handbag, leather jacket,  optician visit, leather chaps and whip
4th:  Fruit, flowers, linen/Blue Topaz/ Appliances    [really! WHO makes up this stuff??!]  yes, appliances – (a vibrator), fruit or flower scented skin care or perfume
5 years:  Wood/Sapphire / Silverware, set of wooden stocks (for misbehaving husbands, or when the wife needs some alone time), jewellery (silver-wear)
6th:  Iron/Amethyst/ Candy Iron Man on DVD, an actual iron, candy gob stoppers
7th:  Copper, Wool/Onyx/ Desk set, linen /jewellery made from old NZ copper coins, loot bag full of 10c pieces, togas [waaay more fun than linen, then you can have a party, too!]
8th:  Bronze/Tourmaline/Pottery/fake tan bronzer, The movie “Ghost” on DVD
9th:  Pottery, China/Lapis Lazuli/ Linen, lace    [Pfft. Linen again? It’s not even like it was the hot item the first time!] sexy lingerie
10 Years:  Tin, Aluminum/Diamond/ Diamonds, brushed steel/replace old tools in the garage or kitchen, tin foil, otherwise known as aluminium foil – two birds with one stone
11th: Steel/Turquoise/ Fashion jewellery, something stolen [steal] flowers from an unsuspecting neighbour’s garden, for instance
12th: Silk or fine linen/Jade/ Pearls or coloured gems, dinner at a fancy restaurant [oysters, of course]
13th:  Lace/Citrine/ Textiles or furs, a razor and shaving cream, citronella-candle-lit dinner
14th: Ivory/Opal/ Gold Jewellery /piano lessons, white chocolate, african safari [the touristy kind, not the poaching kind]
15 Years:  Crystal/Ruby/ Titanium/eyeglasses/sunglasses, glassware, champagne breakfast, clarity, [though I’ve heard it’s in short supply this year!]
16th: Peridot/ Silverware, / cutlery/picnic set, spanish duelling swords
17th: Carnelian/Furniture/sex swing [to make a change from the kitchen table, or the couch, etc…]
18th: Cats Eye/Porcelain/ a kitten [catseye], dental work [porcelain], binoculars, cats eye contact lenses
19th: Aquamarine/Bronze/beach holiday [aqua marine+ bronzing?!], island cruise where one can enjoy both aqua, marine, and get brozned
20 Years:  China/Emerald/Platinum, their favourite platinum selling music group/singer
21st : Lolite/ Brass, nickel/ haircare [lo-lights/highlights], brass knuckles, a nickelback CD
22nd: Spinet/ Copper/ spinet: donate them an organ, the book David Copperfield
23rd:  Silver Plate/ armor
24th:  Musical Instrument/ Lounge party, concert tickets, stand outside the bedroom window holding a stereo above your head while belting out ‘your song’ from your wedding
25 years:  Silver/Silver / silver fern

Operation Christmas Child

I know, I know – there’s still all that Halloween Stuff in the stores, so we can’t think about Christmas yet….

…except for just this one time, okay?

Operation Christmas Child is a fast, simple, and practical way that you can help out kids living in poverty in developing nations.

I mean, you just bought some new shoes, didn’t you? And they came in a box?
Right then, you’re already halfway there!

Pick a specific gender and age range: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.  Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box. [ download a label here ] and then fill the box with “stocking stuffers” – lots of little bits of pleasure for a child to enjoy – little toys, school supplies, luxuries we consider as everyday items, like soap and toothpaste, candy, hairclips,socks, etc. [more ideas]

Check out the linky for more details about how it works, where to drop off your shoebox full of joy, and more.

And, if you didn’t just buy shoes, you can have a shoebox filled and shipped for you here.

There. Now you can tell anyone who cares that you’ve already made a start on your Christmas shopping.

Thanks for your generosity!

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