'think simple' - this has always been a mantra of mine and when it comes to events and styling it sums up my taste perfectly. don't get me wrong, over-the-top styled events can be absolutely breathtaking but if you're anything like me then 1 - you know that they're not realistic for the everyday joe and 2 -you're always having to think twice about every movement you make because you just might break everything and that is just unnecessary stress. so let's save the over-the-top style for weddings and let's talk sweet and simple styling and i'll share some inspiration for your next event or celebration. 

the beginning of this month just happened to be my baby sister's birthday, and so it was the perfect excuse for me to put together a little celebration and enlist the help of my favourite creatives to make it amazing. I don't know about you, but whenever i scroll through my insta i often see perfectly styled events from super talented folks down south and so i find myself thinking that it isn't achievable in rockhampton. but that couldn't be further from the truth, rocky is full of talented and creative folks who are just as dedicated to simple and beautiful style as i am. so i set out to prove that just because i live in a smaller city than some, beautifully styled celebrations are just as attainable and easy to put together.

the long and the short of the story is, that with some simple ideas, the help of some amazing creative humans and a bit of scheming i was able to pull together this little event and surprise my sister for her birthday. in the afternoon my parents whisked away my little sister on the pretense that they just had to "go for a drive" before dinner. a car ride of questions later, hannah found herself in an underground car park where i met her with a smirk and the word surprise! a quick elevator trip up to the penthouse of the empire hotel and she walked in to be met with a drink and the surprise that our family were having a little intimate dinner and spending the night together. she was in shock at my scheming skills and blown away with the surprise. the night was spent eating delicious food, sharing laughs, facetiming extended family, getting high from all the sugar and creating amazing memories that won't be forgotten. it just goes to show that a little planning and effort goes a long way.

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keep the colour scheme to no more than 3 colours, if you find yourself wanting more colour use varying shades of one of the colours.

you can always make the cake yourself, i don't care if you use packet mix or even buy the sponge from woolies, having the creative control to match the colour and style to your event is going to make the cake shine rather than stick out like a sore thumb. you don't have to go overboard with the decoration, remember simple is beautiful.

when it comes to baking the desserts, create a time plan - make sure you start as far in advance as you can, and remember that when you have one dessert in the oven you can prepare the next one so that it's ready to simply swap out.

use fresh flowers or foliage if possible, it will add life to your styling and help break up any inanimate props.

balloons are always appropriate, no matter the age of the guest of honour or style of event.

while i'm usually an advocate for symmetry on dessert tables, try mixed serving ware to create a relaxed feel and make things even more visually interesting - just keep things within your chosen colour scheme or use neutral colours like black white and grey.

think outside the box - desserts can be arranged on many different items to create interest. don't limit yourself to cake stands, think of acrylic laptop risers, trinket trays, chopping boards, boxes or other styling objects which can be used to add varying heights.

to create an elegant feel try to avoid disposable plates and cups, instead try simple glassware and white dinnerware - you can find very stylish and affordable options from the likes of kmart.

cloth napkins are an easy way to elevate your table style and make things appear more fancy than they may be.

try to not to use too many plates, dishes, serving plates on your table - the last thing you want to have to do is spend the rest of your night washing up.

have a plan for how your event will run - eg. drinks on arrival, followed by a sit down dinner, the cutting of the cake and dessert table grazing. 

there are so many things you can diy - from invitations to gift bags and everything in between, don't be afraid to give things a go and get creative, you'll surprise yourself just how crafty you really are.

enlist help - you don't have to do everything yourself, don't be afraid to ask a friend to help out even with menial tasks remember that a job shared is a job halved and as long as you have company you might even enjoy it.


if you have an event in mind, but don't know where to start, i'd be more than happy to point you in the right direction and offer any helpful suggestions i can. if you're in the rockhampton area, i'm more than happy to have a chat with you regarding your event, share my local contacts or even my recipes. 

photos - DMK photographics | florals - Jess Mauger Floral Design | cake topper - glistening occasions | balloons - curly lou's twisted balloons | chairs and plinth - stylish events & hire | location - empire rockhampton

thanks to the many talented humans who helped me surprise my baby sister with this special event.

on the table - festive brass

I've always loved a good table setting almost as much as i love a good dinner spread - so i've decided to share with you my inspirations in a new little segment which i hope will become a regular feature i call 'on the table'. i've titled this edition festive brass as i feel it sums up the vibe of the table, it's simple and relaxed and gives a nod to the holiday season with it's slight touch of glam. think warm day, cold drinks, alfresco dining, and a lunch that lasts til everyone is full of food and laughs.

this table is super easy to throw together and yet it looks purposeful and thought out, best of all the servingware, tableware and decor are all from kmart! don't worry i didn't raid the party section, and i'm not about to suggest you use plastic plates and disposable cups, but i wanted to keep this setting simple and achievable. so stress less this year and take a little inspo for your holiday table from this festive table setting.

onthetable - festive brass | mrtimothyjames
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this look is very much about simplicity, when it comes to hosting the last thing you want to do is be stressed about how long it's going to take you to set the table. so with a few simple tips and tricks i'll show you just how easy it can be to set a simple table that will still wow your guests.

step one - create a base

this is where you start and your choice of table covering will set the tone and mood of your setting. consider neutral colours that won't distract from your tableware and decor. think about how much time you have before and after your event, a table cloth is great but needs to be ironed before and washed after. while disposable table cloths are convenient they can also look tacky, consider a roll of plain gift wrap which will span the width of your table and eliminate the need for washing a table cloth. also consider a table runner or garland, this is your chance to start introducing your theme or colour scheme to the table whether it's with textiles or foliage. 

step two - set the table

now is the time to get your tableware onto the table because apart from being necessary to eat with, this will then dictate how much space you have for decor and serving ware. consider layers, textures and height when setting your tableware as these are all subtle ways to add interest to your overall look. Start with a placemat, charger plate or simply your dinner plate - this is your first opportunity to start layering so consider materials such as metals vs porcelain/china and finishes such as gloss vs matte. 

consider cutlery placement as this can help dictate the tone of your event - formal vs informal. consider the beverages you will be serving as this will allow you to select the necessary glassware and it's placement. don't forget napkins, think about the type - fabric vs paper, the colour - dark vs light and the way you display them - do you need napkin rings or will you fold them.

step three - style it up

all the practical stuff is out of the way now, so consider how you will complete your look. think about lighting and ambience, consider fresh florals/foliage, add decor pieces of different heights to help break things up. try to stick to one idea/theme with your styling and keep it running throughout the table - you don't want to get too carried away, it is a dining table after all not a living room credenza. again consider textures, scents and visuals you want to keep your guests interested in the effort you've put in by connecting them to your styling through their senses. 

I hope these visuals and tips help you to get some inspiration for your holiday dining table, and i look forward to sharing more from 'on my table' in future posts.

do you have any table setting steps or tips you use? what other style of setting would you like to see in the series? tell me all the things in the comments below!

with love, timothy x