Ruby turns 5 with her Greatest Show!

She’s FIVE!

Last weekend we celebrated five laps around the sun for Miss Ruby! Exactly this time last year shortly after her Moana / Hawaii themed 4th birthday (inspired by our trip to Disney Aulani) I dragged her along to see The Greatest Showman with her older siblings. Pure lack of babysitter is how she ended up there as I was certain it would be too mature for her and I would end up sitting in the hallway for the majority. As it turned out she LOVED it, like became completely obsessed. Three times she saw it at the movies, soundtrack on repeat. It was true love.

Over the 11 months that followed Ruby dreamed up ideas for her “Greatest Showman” themed party and not once did she change her mind. Top of her ideas list was that she would dress as the “little girl who does ballet” and that Andy and I would go as the Mum and Dad ha ha (I ran out of time to blonde wig myself or cut my legs off at the knee but Andy certainly nailed P.T Barnum !!)

The styling magic was left up to the truly talented stylist Poppy & Pear Event Styling, she never ceases to amaze with her creativity and hard work to make the venues she works on transform into a scene of absolute enchantment! We focused on a vintage circus style and celebrated with a tonne of big top fun!  I bought the amazing themed cake from the super clever Create me a Cake. And the rest of the food I threw together myself. Hot dogs, Popcorn, Jelly, Lolly pops, fruit and we were done!!

Entertainment this year we decided on Mr Oopy, a super hilarious kids entertainer here in Adelaide with music, games and the most epic bubble show! Followed by face painting by my dear friend Kylie!

Usually I mainly share photos of the styling and products from our events here, but to be honest my feelings about that have changed a bit in recent times. I don’t blog nearly as often, and if I am going to put the time in I really want to be able to look back on it and see our special memories too. So here you have it a snippet into our real world full of our fabulous friends and family. It’s a modern-day round the clock real life circus and we wouldn’t change it for anything! xxx Claire

Find us on instagram!

Me!: @clairecollected

Event styling: @poppy_and_pear_event_styling

Cake: @createmeacake

Lighting: @amuselighting

Mr Oopy: @eliomusic







PARTY TIME! A Tropical Hawaiian Moana themed Luau – Ruby is 4!

A few weeks ago Ruby turned 4 and we celebrated with her best friends and their families at home. I can honestly say it was my fave day of this entire year. It’s been a really rough year for our family grieving the loss of my little brother and it was nice to take some time out from that all-consuming mindset (grief is SO ROUGH, I’ll leave it there) and celebrate Ruby, but also family, and birthdays, and colour and just have FUN. With a 4 year-long and strong unicorn obsession under Ruby’s belt this birthday party was always going to be a magical unicorn pastel everything extravaganza. However after a recent trip to Disney Aulani Ruby could speak of nothing else but Hawaii and her fave Disney princess Moana! When I suggested a change in theme she jumped at it (YASSSSS!). And I was super happy to bust out my inner flamingo and get cracking on plans for this Hawaiian themed tropical luau! We worked with a gorgeous and super talented stylist here in Adelaide Poppy & Pear Event Styling (gorgeous Ellie!) who totally got our vision and vibe and worked so hard to make all Ruby’s Hawaii/Moana dreams come true at the same time as making my life a tonne easier the days leading up to the party!

Out the front she used a Poppies for Grace DIY garland and Ellie incorporated this cool mirror board she decorated her self (so clever!) to welcome the guests.

I mean, I have no words. The main balloon garland was a ‘custom’ DIY Poppies for Grace kit, and we also got the party plates, hats and food display stands from there also. Ellie then weaved her own extra touches adding the luau necklaces, pineapple cups, and flowers amongst the balloons. Her talent blew us away! Styling with so much colour can be tricky and I can’t believe how well it all came together. a DREAM!


Ruby’s Moana cake was from the super talented Adelaide cake extraordinaire Create Me A Cake (@createmeacake) who has been making R’s cakes since she was a bubba.

And the amazing dessert spread was from Town & Country Custom Cakes & Decorating. (you can find clever Gail on facebook linked above or try looking up Town & Country Custom Cakes & Decorating) Those oyster biscuits were my fave!

We hired this gorgeous kids sized table and chair situ from Jaks Hire & Events. And also hired the awesome Flamingo Bar from them too. I want it permanently in our home ha!! You can find them on Instagram @jakshireandevents and Facebook: JAKSHire.

This amazing adults grazing corner / island bench take over was put together by one of my best friends, super talented Food by Annabel! You can find her on Instagram @foodbyannabel and also on Facebook . Think Tiny Tuna Poke bowls, cauliflower spiced baby burritos, prawn cocktails, and the most colourful flower dusted chicken sambos! Talk about food on point! So delish.

And the most fun of all – MOANA!!!!! Beautiful Naomi from Entertainment Emporium kept the kids super engaged and happy with a treasure hunt, games, face painting, stories and a dance off!

And lastly – party bags! These gorgeous cookies I sourced from the clever @frostedbynicciI love how they are individually wrapped – they made the perfect addition to the party bags!

I can’t say enough how stress free this was with the help from Poppy & Pear Event Styling we really could just sit back and enjoy the day once it got underway. I took all the set up photos before the party started, and passed my camera to my gorgeous friend and wedding photog Kate Potter who helped me out by taking some action shots throughout the day so I could enjoy the party, mingle with our guests and most importantly sit back and watch Ruby soak up all the fun with her little friends 🙂

Happy Birthday Miss Ruby! xx




Who remembers Flik Flaks’!?

I love when I can share something that was a special part of my own childhood with my kids. I love the memories it conjures when I see a revamp or even just that a toy that I adored as a child is once again available. My Little Ponies, Barbie, Furby, Polly Pocket are a few I’ve enjoyed handing down to my kids and remembering how much fun my sister and I had playing with them ourselves. Monopoly, Twister, Battleships, Cabbage Patch Dolls. Does anyone remember Keepers? WHAT HAPPENED TO KEEPERS. Now that’s a toy that should have lasted the test of time. And then there’s those that didn’t make it for , er, obvious reasons. Slap bands (hands up whose parents terrified them with the story of the kid who ended up with stitches after a slap band gone wrong embedded in their wrist and had to be surgically removed) oh and moon shoes? tiny trampolines attached to the feet of small children I mean what could possibly go wrong? HA!

When I was contacted and told Flik Flak were turning 30 I couldn’t resist. I still remember my first flik flak like it was yesterday. I was 7, it was my first ever watch. It had a yellow face blue hands and a red band and I loved myself SICK in it. 30 years later Flik Flak watches are still around and the designs are better than ever. Water resistant, shock proof, swiss made and MACHINE WASHABLE. OMG right? You can view the full range HERE>

July/August is 6 weeks of intensive birthday celebrations in our family. If you live locally and don’t know 50sixone or if you’re visiting our city, there is basically no better place for a (very!) special treat (dentists look away!). Their freak shakes are off the hook, and my kids favourite – unicorn bowls!!! you can view the menu here: 50sixone. I dare you to try the ‘snapchatthat!’ xx C

Ruby turns Two, Candy Mountain in the park






























Last Sunday we celebrated two years of Ruby with a sweet little party in the park. We originally weren’t going to throw a party at all as Ruby has been quite shy, scared of crowds, and has often burst into tears at other Birthday parties during “Happy Birthay” – has basically shown all the signs that parties just aren’t her thing. In the nick of time however, several weeks prior to turning two we noticed a complete personality change. All of a sudden she was talking fluently, listing off the names of her little cousins and favourite aunts and uncles and friends on the hour every hour. It was like she finally knew her place in the world and where she fit in with the people around her. SO with this realisation a very last minute party was organised. Mainly just family and her two best friends we had 11 kids in total and the morning could not have been more perfect. Determined not to stress myself out, a busy travelling husband and older children with lots of commitments means I’m spread pretty thin during the week days, I made the executive decision, for myself, that this was NOT going to be a stressful affair. And it wasn’t. It could not have been a happier day. So once it was over I thought, you know what? This really wasn’t the ‘best’ styled party in the world (or even close) but considering it was done without a single bit of stress… OR blowing out any kind of crazy budget, and still looked pretty damn cute, I thought I’d share some tips on how I plan my parties, A) so they aren’t too stressful and B) stay relatively affordable.


  1. Plan ahead: Not something I’m good at, and I say this to friends often. I plan 80% of ANYTHING way ahead, the last 20% of everything I ever do is attempted at the last-minute, of which I generally only achieve 10% of that 20, the result being, everything I ever do is only 90% done… SIGH. I’ve accepted this about myself, but the reality is, I’ve probably set my expectations too high in the first place (birthday party styled by 10 professional magazine stylists with three photographers and a team of helpers vs… ME – ha ha! you get my drift, go easy on yourself, there’s only so much you can do and there is no prize for the best styled kids party… who knew? haha!)
  2. Decide on a theme early but don’t feel like you have to stick to it COMPLETELY rigidly. The kids really aren’t going to care, or notice. My themes are always loose. This time it was Candy Mountain (after falling in love with the new range of beautiful party ware at Lark Store).. leaving it open to all things candy (der)  shades of pretty pastels, and unicorns (because clearly there are lots of unicorns hanging at candy mountain) so basically it was not difficult to find things that were suitable.
  3. Decide which aspects of the party you are going to photograph, and spend the money on the theming of THOSE things. Do not waste your time styling/theming everything and anything, nobody is going to notice, and if they do they will think you’re just plain weird. Most of our parties involve a lot of adults too. We are very social and our friends and family love to join in our children’s birthday parties. Does this mean I theme all the food, plates, drinks for the adults too? absolutely not… of course these things can still be done beautifully, but potentially money will be wasted on decorations for this element of the party. Instead focus on good quality food, and plenty of it, your guests will LOVE you for it. And perhaps won’t be quite as interested in the unicorn swizzle stick you’ve plonked in their champagne.
  4. Giant balloons – boy I LOVE them. I would buy a giant balloon for every occasion if I could. Nothing says party like a statement piece. They can be expensive to fill. But they still work out a lot cheaper than buying a million smaller decorations to fill a space and make an impact. The cheapest helium I’ve found is Spotlight. And they allow you to fill balloons you’ve bought elsewhere, like these gorgeous ones I used on the weekend  Jumbo Confetti balloons.
  5. For me, if my children have a party that doesn’t require a lot of organising on my part, I love to make the cake myself. Recently however I’ve hosted a decent number of people, ordering a cake has pretty much saved me every time. I’m the crafty type, I love to feel like I’ve been involved in the cake in some way… So this time I ordered an undecorated pastel marble cake to arrive the day prior, and set about making the decorations for the top myself. Easy, fun, and my kids looked SUPER impressed when they saw me supergluing together my bunting and those hats for the little animals. Time spent 20 minutes – time saved 12 hours!
  6. BLOGGERS, here’s one for you and I’m passionate about this. If you can, and are lucky like me, get a friend to photograph the day for you (Thankyou Kate). No article/feature/collaboration is EVER going to be worth not being ‘present’ at your child’s birthday party. Usually, I set up early, snap a few pictures of the set up, and then hand over the camera to a friend. We often do this kind of thing for one another and it’s literally the best thing ever, taking the pressure off us Mama’s having to be behind the lens at our own children’s parties. This time I unfortunately woke up super unwell, the setup I have to say was nothing like I planned, I didn’t get the table looking like the magazine spread I had imagined in my head and lusted over on party blogs for days leading up. Nothing like it. I’m sure loads have experienced the same feeling of, oh crap, this really isn’t looking how I planned…. Does it matter? NO!! it’s your beautiful child’s special Birthday. All that matters is they are having a good time, and that they can see that you genuinely are too. If you need images for a blog, or even just for your own personal use so you can print a birthday album to keep forever and you’ve run out of time during the lead up (pretty much standard for me) forget it! enjoy that day, soak up every minute, salvage a few decorations, and sort those styled shots when you get home. You will never regret this, and the extra styled images/mood boards (if that’s your thing) can be super fun to add to your albums and look back on too.
  7. And on a lighter note..pack a hair brush – or your birthday girl may end up looking like she walked straight off the set of Steel Magnolias – Can you even handle that hair, I can’t look at these pictures without laughing out loud!! But really, it kind of makes the memories even better.

So that’s it! We had so much fun choosing our decorations this year from the AMAZING Lark Store. The range is HUGE and they were literally my one stop shop this time around. After falling in love with the Laura Blythman partyware I basically built the ‘loose’ theme from there. Ruby’s Such Great Heights romper fit the theme PERFECTLY again tying in those beautiful Laura Blythman designs. We of course couldn’t resist adding the matching SGH Wonder Tent canopy to the mix. I then just chose a bunch of things to match from Lark Store, including the adorable ice cream piñata, pastel confetti, honeycomb balls in the same colours, and basically did my whole shop in one transaction. Being two years old, with cousins and friends ranging from 1 – 4 years old, I didn’t need too many games. The ice-cream piñata was a HIT, if you’re thinking about getting one for your child’s party DO IT. Even the one year old lined up and had a go. So much fun. My biggest ‘non essential’ splurge were the unicorn hobby horses I stumbled on in a local store a few weeks prior to the party. I could not resist, and they doubled as a totally brilliant game for the kids, and they could then take them home with them at the end of the party as their gift. They were so thrilled with them and the races were pretty much the cutest thing EVER. So that’s it, a beautiful morning in the park for my beautiful little girl with her favourite people, some super cute party decorations, and a totally UN stressed Mama. Turning two was FAB. And this is quite possibly the longest blog post I’ve ever written … SORRY FOR THAT!!! Goodnight! xxxx

“You’re One in a Melon” – Lily turns 9

Lily’s Watermelon 9th Birthday has been and gone and I’m so excited to share the details of the day with you all. What started with Lily’s love of all things watermelon turned into a whole lot of DIY crafting craziness, and I have to admit, the lead up was just as much fun as the actual party! I was asked this week what was the best part of the party and my answer was, without a doubt, the t-shirt painting thanks to Blank Canvas Gifts . Lily and I discovered them when deciding what she would wear on the day. Having chosen the perfect watermelon bathers L decided she’d like to make her own t-shirt to wear. Having created so much of the decor ourselves leading up to the party it was becoming a bit of a DIY project all the way, so I thought why not! We did a practice run and loved it so much we realised it would be a great activity for everyone to take part in at the party. The girls (9) were the perfect age for the activity. I extended the party for an extra hour (3 hours: craft, food, swim) and the t-shirt painting filled in more than a whole hour. They even kept dashing back to add more glitter and finishing touches throughout the afternoon. And the creativity from the girls was just delightful! Not one t-shirt was the same. Even better, it filled in so much time, that combined with swimming, and the pinata, we had no need for any other games. Triple ticks! The party wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing invitations, watermelon scatters and party favour tags from the fabulous Piccolo Studio. Getting those organised in advance made the day so much easier to plan, I really just had to fill in the gaps. The table was decked out with decorative goodies from the fabulous The Party Provider , a watermelon themed tassel garland from my friends at The House of POM , marquee lights from the gorgeous Little Letter Lights Company and the table frame and drinks canister were hired from Adelaide party stylists Red Apple Events And I will reluctantly give this source away…. my oh so talented cake maker, I mean did you SEE that watermelon amazingness!? For those of you living in Adelaide, there is no one better: Create Me A Cake!  WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-2 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-7 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-69 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-15 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-21 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-23 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-12 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-8 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-40 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-25 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-26 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-28 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-54 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-41 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-55 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-59 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-61 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-10 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-24 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-53 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-35 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-34 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-33 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-45 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-47 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-46 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-51 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-50 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-63 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-66 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-65 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-30 WATERMELON PARTY PHOTOS-49 lolly-2 Extra details: Lily’s watermelon bathers: Molo Lily’s watermelon headband: Top Knot Girl Ruby’s watermelon top: Bobo Choses Claire’s watermelon top: Gorman Clothing DIY Piñata instructions: Oh Happy Day Blog DIY fruit slice umbrella instructions: Studio DIY Custom invitations, scatters, party favour tags: Piccolo Studio Honeycomb balls, party plates, cups, straws: The Party Provider Custom garland: The House of POM