Tasmania – the gift that keeps on giving. 

In April, Hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with 5 wonderful days in Tasmania. You can read about our trip and what we got up to here and here

We couldn’t have gone on this trip alone if it hadn’t been for Mum-O, my parents and the two aunties stepping in to look after the kids for us. 

As we travelled along the East Coast of Tasmania and inland to Cradle Mountain I popped in at some shops and strolled through Salamanca Markets. I considered items we could get these family members to thank them for having our children, but with certain members on decluttering missions and others with far too many tea towels to count, I didn’t want us to be adding to the clutter. 

We thought about what Tasmania does well and decided to buy some Tasmanian produce to give to our family and cook a Tasmanian themed dinner for them upon our return. 

Now unfortunately life and money got in the way for quite some time. Entertaining isn’t always cheap and with family who have weekend commitments due to work/volunteering etc it took us 5 months but we finally hosted these family members for dinner last Saturday night. 

This is what we served:

Oven baked crumbed Tasmanian Camembert with cranberry sauce. 


Tasmanian salman pie with garlic mash and green beans


Honey and lemon curd tart with blueberries made with Tasmanian stringybark honey. 


I selected Tasmanian Riesling and Tasmanian Apple Cider to serve with the meal. 

The food produce that we brought home for our family included some Tasmanian chocolate coated coffee beans, ginger chocolate, blueberry and raspberry jam and rhubarb syrup. 

Normally when I cook a meal like this, I don’t enjoy it. I don’t know why. My Dad is the same. But this meal, I thoroughly enjoyed!

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Entertaining

I had the most wonderful night on Saturday night!  I held a dinner party fundraiser for my friend Kyly’s daughter who has Cystic Fibrosis.

When out for dinner recently we were discussing the expensive costs associated with treatment for Kyly’s daughter and I suggested we host a Girls Night In (stealing the idea from the Cancer Council) to help raise funds for a new nebuliser or physiotherapy vest.  Kyly loved the idea and so we ran with it.

With 15 invited, 12 were able to make it.  Women all connected to me from different parts of my life.  My Mum, MumO, SILS, friends and Kyly’s Mum, Sister and SIL – all women I have known for 5 to 21 years, plus of course Mum – all my life – der!

Today I thought I would share with you how I prepare for an event like this.  For me, it’s about lists and planning and being organised.

On the Friday the week before the event I planned the menu properly and wrote out my grocery shopping list.  The menu consisted of:

On Monday night I ordered most of my groceries for the event online, to be delivered Thursday morning after school drop off.

On Friday I was up early and cooked the Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce and Chocolate Mousse. After swimming lessons, Mr 3 and I headed to Aldi and bought all these flowers for $25.00. Bargain!


Once home, I made the pastry and lemon filling for the Lemon Meringue Pie.

On Saturday we had swimming and dance lessons. After this was done it was time for home and last minute prep.

I made the meringue, assembled the pie and popped it in the oven for 5 minutes. I then made the Creamy Chicken Pasta. With all the cooking now done, I put the dishwasher on, ready to be emptied before everyone arrived.

It was then time to make the house look pretty. This is how I set my table. Firstly, I needed to seat 12 people.  Hubby has created an extension to add on to our table.  We have 6 dining chairs constantly in use and 4 cheap IKEA chairs I store in the attic when not in use. I asked Kyly to bring the rest of the chairs needed with her. Then I ironed and placed white tablecloths on the table.

As I was serving the main meal and dessert on the kitchen island bench, I set the table, minus dinner plates. I used the width of the chairs to space the cutlery. Bread a butter plates to the right with IKEA paper napkins (didn’t have enough cloth ones) with butter knife and spoons for dessert.

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I used glass bottles as vases and placed 4 roses in each. I also used candles to provide soft lighting along the table.

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The final touch, a red ribbon in honour of Cystic Fibrosis.

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I then got all the plates (bread and butter, main and dessert plates) and servingware ready. We then prepared the salads, cooked the pasta and prepared the antipasto platters.

I like to use my console table with a tablecloth on it as the drinks table. All the glassware goes on top with wine in a large stainless steel dish and I borrowed MumO’s drink stand for the soft drinks.

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Lighting – I wanted to keep the mood relaxed so lit candles and lamps.

We were now ready for all our guests.

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The evening flowed well with great conversation shared as well as many memories and funny tales. Dishes were cleared away as each course was finished.

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Kyly and I worked well after all the guests left, with the clean up and pack up completed within 40 minutes. Plenty of time to sit down for a chat and a cuppa tea before bed!

Do you like entertaining for a crowd?  I love having all my loved ones near me, and all women of different ages sharing stories/memories/experiences?  Priceless!