Christmas Engagement? Congrats!

With a resounding ‘yes’ this Christmas period, you and your partner got engaged. Congratulations!!  A very exciting time is ahead. You have a wedding to plan, love to celebrate and lot’s of decisions to make.

You’ll first want to find a notebook, or wedding planning diary like this one from Booktopia plannerto help keep all your notes and quotes in order. Visiting Bridal Expos are a great way to gather information that you can then go through later with your partner to get a feel for what you’d both like.

The Australian Bridal ServiceABS is hosting the Australian Bridal Expo in Melbourne next month, and we’ll be there too! We can help you plan one of the most exciting parts of your wedding – the gift registry! Instead of confining your choices to just one store, The Gift Register is flexible and easy to use – and it’s free. Signup here or via our iOS app.

The choice of date is an early decision you will need to make together. What season would you like to be married in? Is the venue available on that date? Does it clash with any major events? Does this date give you enough time for all the planning you will need to do?

Other big decisions you will need to make now include finding a location and choosing whether you’d like a sit down dinner, or a cocktail style function. Visit as many places as you can to see what you like before committing to one.

The wedding dress is a personal choice and we recommend trying on a number of styles before selecting one that suits you and making a final decision. Remember that most dressmakers require a lead-time of at least six months to make a wedding dress – don’t leave it too late!

Flowers, photographers, bonbonnieres and a celebrant are also on the list and you’ll find lots of each at the Australian Bridal Expo. Talk to your friends who have recently held weddings for some additional advice and support.

We’ll be giving away tickets to the expo in the coming days on Facebook, so keep an eye out. Come by our stand (Site 32) at the Melbourne Expo for your chance to win one of four Terramundi potsTerramundi – a beautiful way to save for something special!

Melbourne 10/11 January
Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton

Sydney 31 Jan/1 Feb
Qantas Credit Union Arena, Darling Harbour

Shop til you drop!!

The end is in sight, and the allure of watching the Boxing Day test is just a few sleeps away. The final shopping hours are upon us: it’s too late for online deliveries. As stores around Australia gear up for the final 24 hour spending spree, we bring you a round up of their opening hours. Get your coffee and your list. Ready, set GO.


Chadstone Shopping Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – Wednesday 24 Dec 6pm (24 hour shopping)

Westfield Southland
Tuesday 23 Dec 8am – Wednesday 24 Dec 2am, Wednesday 24 Dec 7am – 5.30pm

Westfield Knox
Tuesday 23 Dec 8am – midnight, Wednesday 24 Dec 8am – 5.30pm


Westfield Sydney/Bondi Junction
Tuesday 23 Dec 8am – 9pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 8am – 5.30pm (6pm Bondi)

Broadway Shopping Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – 10pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 9am – 7pm

Chatswood Chase
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – 10pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 8am – 6pm


Westfield Chermside
Tuesday 23 Dec 8am – Wednesday 24 Dec 5.30pm (24 hour shopping)

Robina Town Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – midnight, Wednesday 24 Dec 9am – 6pm

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – midnight, Wednesday 24 Dec 9am – 5.30pm


Centrepoint Shopping Centre
Tuesday 22 Dec 9am – 5.30pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 9am – 5.30pm


Canberra Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 9am – 9pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 9am – 5.30pm


Myer Centre
Tuesday 23 Dec 8.30am – midnight, Wednesday 24 Dec 8.30am – 5.30pm


Raine Square
Tuesday 23 Dec 7am – 9pm, Wednesday 24 Dec 7am – 9pm


Happy Shopping, and Merry Christmas!

Finishing touches for a Fabulous Christmas!

Your stockings are hung and there is a pile of presents beautifully wrapped under the Christmas Tree … now the hard part starts. Planning for Christmas Lunch (or dinner) can be the most draining part of the whole season, but with these great decorating and cooking ideas, you’ll be everyone’s favourite come the New Year.

HomeLife really take the cake for great ideas and Christmas decorating inspiration. Start with red and white striped straws for your festive drinks, add matching napkins and a bit of sparkle with silver napkin rings. This Santa red bowl will make a great centrepiece (fill it with lollies, or punch!) and these adorable Christmas inspired salt and pepper shakers are the perfect finishing touch.


Channel your inner Tonia Todman and get sparkle_bonbons1creative by making your own bon bons. Tara Dennis has some lovely ideas to personalise these to your taste or family, and they are much simpler to create than you might think! Hit the kitchen in the days before Christmas lunch to whip up something yummy for your family and friends.

Chocolate Ripple and a Pavlova are traditional Australian favourites, but why not try something a bit different? This Golden Mango and Passionfruit Caramel Tart uses fresh mangoes and passionfruit. We’re hungry just looking at the pictures!

And a final reminder of a few things you should check off your mango-tartto-do list before the big day.

– Check that you have plenty of gas in the BBQ and that you haven’t forgotten the apple and cranberry sauces for the pork and turkey.

– Count the number of guests you have, and how many plates are in your cupboard –do you have enough so you won’t spend all day washing dishes between courses?

– Finally, make a list of what time the veggies need to be turned on, when the meat should rest and how long each will take to cook. No one wants to forget to cook something in a haze of festive excitement and champagne.

Happy hosting!

Last Minute Gift Ideas (they’ll love!)

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the world, people struggled with gift shopping, for friends young and old. Does this sound like you? With just on a week to go, we give you a list of last minute ideas that will save you on Christmas Day if you are yet to get to the shops.

If you have decided to go with the giftcardjarquick and easy giftcard for someone’s fave store, why not present it in a clever way that’s a bit removed from a simple card and envelope? Fill a jar with lollies and put the giftcard in the centre for a novel way to present this type of gift.

If your recipient is in dire need of some time off after Christmas, and you want to give them an extra surprise, a night away from home in a city hotel is an Grand-Designs-Novideal gift. Roomorama lets you choose your city and date, then offers a range of accommodation options.

People might spend half their day on a mobile phone, but nothing replaces the tactile nature of a magazine. Dog-ear the pages, tear out recipes you love and share with a friend when you are done. A magazine subscription can be found on any topic, and delivered anywhere. An ideal last minute gift!

For shipping in just two days, Dadshop stocks ideas for men and journalwomen. We like this celtic embossed journal – suitable for either gender, it will allow the recipient a chance to keep a diary, scribble ideas or sketch a masterpiece, plus it’s a beautiful piece to look at.

Last minute gifts can be found at Different Drop, where a range of specialty wines are stocked. From vintage reds to international bubbly, you’ll find something to everyone’s taste here, and shipping can be arranged in as little as two days.

blitzenFlowers are an ideal on the go gift, but remember – roadside flowers scream ‘I forgot’, while a same day delivery shows initiative
and thought. Order by 2pm for same day delivery with the Flower Factory. Flower Factory has some beautiful Christmas arrangements and our favourite is Blitzen.

A perfect subscription gift that keeps on giving for the girls is BellaBox, filled with beauty samples and girly treats. Even if it’s Christmas Eve, order online and your recipient will receive their first delivery in January.

Books are a last minute gift that never goes out of style. From travel books, fiction, the latest best seller or a specialty topic, books are special and thoughtful gift that are treasured. shoesofpreyOrder by Friday for guaranteed Christmas delivery!

For the lady with everything, give the gift of shoes. You don’t even need to know her tastes – let her design her own with Shoes of Prey, from the heel height, fabric and colours. This creative gift can be purchased online at Shoes of Prey and printed, or emailed straight to the recipient.

Want something more creative? A DIY kitchen collection looks impressive and is super practical! DIY-ideasFind lots of supplies at Kitchen Style. Similarly, wrapping gorgeous bath goodies in a face washer with a bit of pipe cleaner and ribbon makes the simple things so much more appealing. The opportunities are endless!!


Underwear free zone! Gifts for him.

We know boys always need new socks and undies, however its not much fun actually receiving them on Christmas morning. Power tools are great, but as the number of men prepared to DIY dwindles, an impressive cordless drill becomes no more useful than a handy screwdriver. So instead check out these gift ideas that will challenge and entertain the man in your life this Christmas!guitar

If he likes music, skip over the CDs or MP3 players and head straight to the instrument department. The guitar is easy to learn and fun to play – whether you learn any songs or just strum along to your favourite tunes.

Meet Joe Button. shirtJoe will help your man choose from a range of shirt designs (pre-approved by you of course) that are then made to measure for a perfect fit. The styles are modern and there are a variety available for work or play. He’ll be the most stylish gent at Christmas lunch.

Malebox is an ideal shopping spot for the guy who has everything, and with the cricket season just kicking off in Australia, these cufflinks with stumps and a ball are a great summer accessory and talking point!cufflinks

Run, run as fast as you can, and get your man the hottest fitness accessory this season, the wrist activity tracker. It measures heart rate, steps and calories burned so a healthy lifestyle can be achieved. Once he starts using this handy little device (that also tells the time!) there’ll be no stopping him. 

We’ve never met a man who didn’t like to go camping and while the whole point is to polar_loopbond with nature, a little scrub with some soap and water never goes astray. Get him a portable outdoor shower and he’ll come home smelling that little bit fresher!

Does your man wear his sports shoes with shorts to Sunday lunch? These suede loafers, in a range of colours, are a great alternative to thongs when you need to dress up just a little bit more.

Gentlemen who prefer to put a little extra effort into their grooming routine will appreciate this Fig + Yarrow after shave.aftershave With many manly fragrances infused to create a truly masculine product, you’ll be swooning at the very smell of him.

And the old holey socks? Replenish them with a subscription! Soxybeast is a subscription service that will send your man new socks every month in a fun pack of colours and patterns. Made in Australia for a unique and bold look.

Give Teenagers ‘swag’ this Christmas!

‘Swag’. Thats ‘teenage’ for ‘something cool’! Choosing a gift which a teenager won’t hate really takes the crown in the present buying stakes. Buying for girls whose tastes change on a daily basis and boys who seemingly have their head buried behind a computer most of the time makes the days when they preferred the wrapping seem so long ago. Never fear – The Gift Register has found some truly great gifts for teens of all ages to make them smile!

Older teens, who might be thinking about leaving home (or whom you might be thinking about asking to leave) can always use life lessons, and cooking is one often overlooked. Boiling water or microwaving an egg doesn’t count. Give them the gift of a gourmet cooking class and you’ll be giving them a skill they can use for life.fashionbox

For teenage girls whose fashion and styling choices are influenced on a daily basis, Her Fashion Box delivers a monthly supply of on trend accessories, samples and girly goodies. Try them out and let her develop her own sense of style.

No teenager is complete without a mobile phone, and to assist in the production of a perfectly snapped instagram post, no teenagerxdream should be without a selfie stick. The most practical of mobile accessories, this contraption is a Christmas must have.

The addition of all those extra photos is bound to run down the battery on an iphone, and what photo shoot is complete with a little background music? Strap on the xdream plus power bank and speaker to keep the party going, and make sure there is plenty of charge left when its time to call home for a ride.

Budding designers will love the opportunity to createshoes their own pair of custom shoes. From fabric to heel height, strap style to colours, Shoes Of Prey are a great way to let your teen loose with her creativity and flaunt her individuality.

A good watch can be a sign of professionalism and maturity – James Bond always looked good in his. Your teen will never be late when wearing a Fossil watch, available in a variety of colours, styles and in analog or digital. We love this black stylewatch – its sophisticated and elegant, but still sporty with a cool edge.

For the teen planning a gap year to far off lands, a beautiful poster print of longed for destinations might be just the thing to inspire saving their pennies. Paris, New York, London or Venice – these posters will look great in the living room once the plane has left.

Of course, a great way of knowing what your teen really wants under the tree this Christmas is to have them write a list – but they might be a bit past penning a letter to Santa. NYposterDownload The Gift Register app to their mobile phone, have them create a wishlist and then simply email it on over to you. Swag. You’ll be their Christmas hero.

A Foodie Christmas!

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for catching up with friends and family, usually over a drink or something yummy. The sharing of food with loved ones is an essential part of the traditions of the season, and giving edible gifts is one of our favourite holiday customs. After all, the best part about food presents is when they are opened and shared with you right away!

macarthurBubbles, cheese and chocolate are the hallmarks of the season, and Macarthur Baskets have more than a few variations on this theme for you to choose from, based on tastes and budget.

The Native Gift Box offers a selection of personal care, food, lifestyle and household products that will start you on the journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. native_boxChoose a one off delivery, or a subscription service to enjoy these hand-selected luxuries all year.

A more traditional box of Christmas delights can be found at Red Balloon, where shortbread, rum balls and toffees will satisfy even the most ant Christmas Scrooge. Add some eggnog for festive spirit!

Champagne might be the most celebrated beverage at Christmas, but beer is a close second on a hot Summers Day. This World Class collection of beers worldbeerfrom around the globe is perfect for those with slightly more adventurous tastes in their ales.

Fancy chocolates are always a winner and zChocolate never disappoints. For someone extra special, the gorgeous wooden box is a keepsake that will last a lifetime, while the flavor of the sumptuous chocolates might not – get in quick if you are sharing!

For those who are more concerned with health and vitality, creating a gift basket from scratch at Aussie Health Products is sure to show them how much you care. Choose 4 or 5 items, wrap in cellophane and you have a gym-friendly gift that will see them through the post-Christmas fitness boom.

ediblebloomJust in case you’ve left the gift buying until the last minute, a selection of chocolates from Edible Blooms can be delivered the very next day. No more excuses for forgetting! The chocolates in the place of a bloom will make any recipient smile.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the fastest way to make a friend is through their stomach, so why not prepare something as a gift or simply to take to any of your Christmas functions? Our favourite Christmas recipe is these ‘cheats’ mini chocolate puddings. (See main pic). Super quick and easy to create with kids, it’s very hard to stop at one!

Believe and you will Receive!

It is the season of magic and imagination. Children all over the world are penning their Christmas wishes to Santa… wishing; wanting; hoping. There are options aplenty to generate replies, which will give your child that sparkle in their eye that only comes from the magic of believing. 

Australia Post recommends sending letters to Santa, via the North Pole – and yes, you do need a stamp! Download their festive templates and expect a reply before Christmas if you send yours by December 15.

Free Letters From Santa allows you to personalise a reply with details like the child’s name, age and hometown and print them out yourself. This is a great option if you leave the letter writing until the last minute!

Portable North Pole offers personalized video and phone calls from Santa! Bring the magic of Christmas into your home as Santa finds the time to personally contact your child and wish them a Merry Christmas.

elfonshelfInstalling an Elf on a Shelf in your living room is a great way to always have an eye on your kids, further perpetuating the ‘Santa has eyes everywhere’ philosophy of Christmas. 

When it comes to the gifts, kids usually have a list as long as their arm of the latest and greatest gadgets. We know you’ve got the big stuff covered, so here are a couple of stocking stuffers that think outside the box.

Kids will love designing their own plates platesfor breakfast, lunch and dinner with this activity kit. It’s easy to create their own design, and will make mealtimes easier when they have something they are happy to eat off.

Make playtime and cleaning up so much easier with a lego playmat and storage bag. No more stepping on random bricks in the middle of the night!

legomatA classic board game never goes astray, and getting the kids off the computer for an hour or two is never a bad thing. Find Monopoly, Scrabble and more at Oz Games Shop, choose the one you like playing the best and teach your kids to love it like you do.

Frozen was the kids movie of the year and there is plenty of merchandise to entertain girls both young and old, but this Frozen craft kit to make their own purses will keep them entertained a little longer.