Every year our Red Friends automatically go into the draw to win a luxury weekend away with friends or family at the Black Barn Retreat, The White House. The prize covers two nights at The White House and travel costs of up to $500. This year’s winner will be drawn October 6th.
Our previous winner spent an autumn weekend at The White House earlier this year keeping warm by the fire, enjoying good food and taking in the beautiful scenery of Hawke’s Bay. View a few pics from their weekend below.
Sign up as a Red Friend to be in the draw to win click here to register >
For more details on The White House click here >
For full competition T’s and C’s click here >
Pale & Interesting
Who says neutrals are boring? Layers of fresh whites, taupes and grey create a haven of tonal bliss. Allow standout silhouettes and textures to take precedence for a perfect balance of form and function.
“This season will see a shift towards soft, airy colours, with an emphasis on grey-toned hues and lighter woods. Pale tones look great layered with pops of bold, strong colours such as matte black and white. Pair pastel toned neutrals with concrete, bronze or marble textures and industrial accessories for an intriguing contemporary look”
– Natasha Smith, Kmart
Shop Winter Textures
Whether you have a grand entrance way in your Villa, or a non-existent one in your tiny apartment, every home’s entryway is important, no matter the size! Think of your threshold as a way to set the tone of your home. We have put together a couple of tips to create a functional, yet mesmerising entryway.
#1 Hang a Mirror
This is a practical addition to your entrance as it lets you take one last look at yourself on your way out the door. It can also brighten a dark corner and make it feel bigger.
#2 Add Hooks To The Wall
Hooks provide a convenient spot for your coats, bags and hats. If you have beautiful hooks, let them be a statement on their own, without crowding them with objects.
#3 Shoe Storage
We all hate it when the shoe pile forms next to the door, and somehow you always trip over them at the most inconvenient times. Add a set of shelves and go bold! You could also add a bench seat or chair with storage underneath, killing two birds with one stone!
We all have that problem of putting our keys somewhere and then promptly forgetting where we put them, so create a special spot for them by add a floating shelf or a narrow console table.
#5 Add a Personal Touch
Dress up your entrance way with something special. Be it a beautiful painting by your grandpa or a bowl of fruit to sweeten your entrance. Guests and friends will feel at home as soon as they arrive.
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Image via Redcurrent
An afternoon high tea party is an elegant way to celebrate many occasions, Mother’s Day, a baby shower, even a bridal shower, but it’s hardly sustainable as a regular Sunday activity. Throwing your own High Tea means you can stick to your own budget and show off your favourite finger food! If you have been to a traditional tea service at a restaurant or hotel you may think it involves a whole lot of prep but don’t worry, it’s one of those events that looks impressive, but very easy to pull off!
What you will need
Don’t panic if you don’t own the ‘perfect tea set’ or any tea set for that matter! Head out to thrift stores, antique stores and flea markets to create a shabby chic asthetic and mix and match your lovely finds. Remember to find a couple of teapots and loose-leaf tea steppers.
Also keep an eye out for a gorgeous tiered cake stand, a must have for a tea party! If you really can’t find the perfect one, get your favourite dinner or serving plate, placing a short candlestick or cup in the middle of the plate, and putting another smaller plate on top. Tada!
Afternoon Tea doesn’t have to be inside either! Try moving your table outside into your garden or on your terrace! You could even try tea, picnic style! Incorporating your fine china with a relaxed picnic atmosphere.
What to drink
Arrival drinks are not a must, but a good way to break the ice, possibly some champagne to start! If your ladies aren’t to fussed on champagne, start them off with a iced tea! Also the perfect refreshing tipple in warmer weather.
Loose tea, tea bags, pyramid bags or the finest loose tea – it’s really up to you! Have a range of teas your ladies can choose from; English breakfast and Earl Grey are the most traditional. However, try and spice things up with a jasmine, chai, green tea or peppermint. There are so many flavours out there now! As a rule of thumb, black teas take longer to seep (about four minutes) and green teas are around three minutes.
Make sure the sugar and milk is set on the table ready to pour your guests a cuppa as they sit down. Try to provide a variety of tea – Earl Grey, peppermint, camomile, fruit, herbal and, of course, English Breakfast.
What to eat
We generally associate Tea parties with small finger sandwiches, scones and tea cakes, but there are no rules! You can throw in some pastries, petits fours and even biscuits. The only caveat being that everything must be small and easy to consume in one or two bites.
These require minimal effort; prepaire your fillings ahead of time, and assemble right before your guests arrive to avoid the dreaded soggy sammie or stale bread! Purchase different types of breads, remove the crusts (Anne, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, was quite insistent on this point) and add a filling of your choice, then cut them into small rectangles. You can also make pinwheel sandwiches by removing the crusts, flattening the bread with a rolling pin, adding your filling and then rolling them up! Most of the food on a Afternoon Tea menu is rich, so you don’t need to serve large portions. That way your quests can enjoy a little of everything.
Cucumber & Chive Butter
A tasty remake of the classic Cucumber & Butter sandwiche replacing basic white bread with brioche.
Smoked Salmon & Spinach
Delightful savory open sandwich on Pumpernickel bread.
Truffled Egg Salad Sandwich
A modern and classy take on the original egg sandwich.
Poached Chicken & Apple
A delicious chicken and apple sandwich with mayonnaise ribbons by The Hotel Windsor.
These are a staple in a High Tea. Serve warm, with lashings of jam and cream. If you want to be a little fancy, start with strawberry jam, add whipped cream (don’t sweeten) and top with sliced strawberries!
Here are a couple of scone recipes if you want to head a little out of your scone comfort zone.
Raspberry Almond Scones
These sweet and soft baked scones are made with fresh raspberries and topped with a rich almond glaze!
Maple Nut Scones
Soft, buttery and flaky Scones with a finger-lickin’ Maple Glaze and topped with chopped Pecans.
Blueberry Ricotta Scones
Classic and crumbly, these tender scones are made with sweet ricotta cheese and loaded with juicy blueberries!
Blackberry & Peach Scones
Blackberry Peach Scones combine two delicious summer fruits in a light, flaky scone that’s perfect for your high tea.
A couple of extra sweets won’t go amiss alongside your gorgeous scones. We have put together a couple of recipes that will go down a treat (pun intended!)
Earl Grey Panna Cotta Tarts
The filling is still luxuriously creamy with a pâte sablée not-too-sweet crust.
Brandy Snaps with Lady Grey Cream
Add a little crunch with these beautiful brandy snaps + so easy to make!
No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites
A taste of summer in one bite!
Chocolate Pomegranate Tarts
Raw chocolate tarts filled with a rich decadent chocolate ganache and topped with pomegranates.
Hosting family or friends over the long weekend? Make sure they have a wonderful experience with these easy tips to create a guest bedroom your loved ones will be lining up to stay in!
Spring for cosy bedding.
Purchase high quality and high thread count linens and arrange a cozy throw near the end of the bed to add color and texture to the room as well as keep your guests warm on those chilly nights.
Redcurrent has a beautiful range of throws and blankets here.
Piles of pillows.
Some like them flat, some like them fluffy. Keep an assortment of pillows on hand to satisfy guests’ individual tastes.
Lay out a cosy robe
When you travel, you never bother to pack a robe, so why would they? Fold them neatly and display them on the bed to let your guests know it’s freshly laundered and at their disposal.
Need a couple of dressing gowns? Shop them here.
Few elements give guests a warm welcome in the way that flowers do. Keep the arrangement simple — stick a few cut blooms from your garden or the market in a pitcher or jug, or choose one standout blossom for a bud vase. Try avoid flowers with overpowering scents or opt for a pretty green plant.
An Assortment of Reads
One of the most relaxing pastimes when visiting is rummaging through their book or magazine collection. Stock a variety of reading material that appeals to all tastes, including magazines. Don’t forget to add bedside lamps or reading lights, and (if possible) a cosy spot to curl up in.
Add A Mirror
Hang a small mirror in the room to provide a spot for touching up makeup or putting on jewelry. If space allows, a long dressing mirror is an even better.
Get a couple of mirror ideas from Redcurrent here.
Add a Luggage Stand
This hotel-inspired touch saves guests from bending down. Purchase a folding one to hide away when not in use, or add a bedroom bench at the end of the bed for a more permanent option.
Beauty & Fragrance
We all forget one thing or another when travelling so lay out a basket of toiletries and niceties in case of forgotten items; a mini toothpaste, an extra toothbrush, emery boards, small bottles of hand lotion, shaving soap and more.
You will find some gorgeous niceties here.
Try It Out
The only way your going to know if your guest room is perfect is by spending a night in it!
Things We Love
Style essentials to pack for your weekend getaway.
Redcurrent Rose Un Deux Trois Cosmetic Set $35.00
Redcurrent Hamptons Throw $65.00
It’s In The Bag
Pack a pretty purse with all your bridal essentials and you’ll stay looking fresh all party long.
Redcurrent Purse $39