October was a crazy month! Not only is it my busiest month for photography, but it is both Ellia's AND Mercedes birthday's! It was a big one for my sister this year, 3-0, so I decided to host a little combined birthday party for my fave girls. We love all things celestial and always have...Astronomy was one of my favourite courses in university, after Art History of course. I decided on a Moon & Stars theme and I ordered a bunch of balloons. The black backdrop is a piece of drywall, that I painted with chalkboard paint and smudged with white chalk. I've actually had it for YEARS!

I used THIS tape to tape the balloons to the chalkboard and each otter (not on the wall, that stuff is strong!).  We glued pillow stuffing to an 8in round styrofoam cake dummy for the cake stand and on some dry foam blogs for the donuts on sticks. Everything was made by me, we kept it simple with chocolate cake, filled with yummy cherry buttercream and a chocolate ganache drip, mini vanilla bean donuts and vanilla sugar cookies, with royal icing. 

The mantel was one I've had for many, many years, and had this brilliant (at least I think it's brilliant) idea to use if for the party and then convert it over to a Christmas mantel since I don't have one at this house. I've linked a similar one below!


Balloons: Bargain Balloons
Fireplace: Home Depot here
Ellia's Shirt: Zara
Ellia's Skirt: Forever 21
Nat's Skirt & Top
Pink Faux Fur - HomeSense

xox Nat


Leons Hello Holiday

This year, we had the honor of contributing to Leons Hello Holiday Magazine. You can pick up your free copy at an LCBO with Food & Drink Magazine, or at any Leons location. If it's cold out and you're not going anywhere, HERE is a link to an online copy.
Tons of talented Canadians poured their hearts into this magazine, and it's full of holiday inspiration for your home and entertaining this season. Enjoy!

Grandma Josephine's classic holiday recipe with a modern twist
We know the holiday season has arrived when the rich scent of Grandma’s delicious almond cake fills the kitchen. Every year our family waits for a taste of this warm Torta di Mandorla straight from the oven. She makes her bundt cake with a classic royal icing drip, so we decided to honor the simplicity of her tradition while adding a fun and modern topper to make it extra beautiful.

Grandma’s Almond Cake | Torta di Mandorla
For the cake, you will need:
  • 2 1/3 cups ground almonds
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 150 grams of salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 7 eggs, yolk & whites separated
  • Bertolini Lievito Vanigliato 16 Gram Packet 
  • 1 shot of rum
• Preheat over to 350F.
• With electric mixer cream butter and sugar together adding one egg yolk at a time.
• Beat 15-20 minutes with a mixer until very smooth.
• Beat egg whites in a separate bowl for 1 minute.
• Add flour & egg whites.
• Beat for a couple of minutes
• Add ground almonds, Bertolini packet, and rum.
• Mix until incorporated.
• Coat pan generously with non-stick spray
• Bake 1 hour
**Because every oven is different after 60 minutes check the cake by sticking a long skewer in it. If it comes out clean it's ready, if not add other 10 minutes. Do not exceed 80 minutes.
• Let the cake cool for 25 minutes in the pan before removing it.
Cake Assembly:
  • 1 mini gingerbread house kit
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons tbsp of half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh or dried greens and flowers
  1. Bake cake according to Grandma Josephine’s recipe above.
  2. While your cake is in the oven, build your mini gingerbread house according to box instructions.
  3. Make a powdered sugar glaze by sifting icing sugar, and mix in the melted butter. Stir until combined, then add half and half and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Once the cake has cooled, pour glaze over the bundt cake.
  5. After the glaze has dried, place your gingerbread house on the cake and embellish with greens and flowers.
  • Bertolini Lievito Vanigliato 16 Gram Packet can be purchased at Italian food stores.
  • Even if you're tempted to take a peek, don't open the oven until the 60-minute mark.
  • Bake on the middle rack of your oven on Bake, not Convection.
  • Grandma bakes from memory, she doesn't follow a written recipe. We created this by watching her bake the cake, documenting her process, and testing it ourselves. Each time Grandma makes her Torta Di Mandorla, it's a little bit different.
*This is a sponsored post
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