Last month I hit the quarter century! Celebrating my 25th with my friends at home was one of my best birthdays yet.  The guest list consisted of 15 of my closest sistas so it seemed right to go a little extra with my theme and menu! What started as a garden picnic in my backyard turned into a full blown palm springs themed afternoon.

For those of you who dontknowchlo well yet, I am a visual merchandiser and stylist by trade so themes are definitely my thing! I had way too much fun sourcing everything from pallets, cushions, photo wall props, custom cookies and the rest, so I’m very excited to share all of the details with you!


After gathering some pinterest inspo, it was obvious that the fresh colour scheme of palms springs was the perfect way to deck out the garden! As I was paying for all food, drinks and styling, I needed to keep costs low and that required some creativity.


Like any good picnic party, pallets were a crucial part of the styling to make a beautiful table for my guests to sit around. Luckily my boyfriends is a landscaper and could get his hot little hands on some perfect pallets free of charge. For the amount of people attending, I went for 9 pallets (3 wide and 3 high) to create a decent sized table.


Paint not only has the power to make ordinary things look special but it can be quite inexpensive if you do your research. I went to bunnings and after little deliberation, I had bought 4L of pink outdoor paint (colour was “iced cupcake”) for roughly $30 which I was quite happy with!

I must say, painting pallets is a time consuming exercise. Mainly because they absorb the paint in seconds so you constantly have to keep refilling your tray but I was stoked with how they turned out. By the end of the painting escapade my lower back was begging for mercy and had adopted a “rustic gives it more character” attitude so if you’ve got a bit more money to play with I suggest getting a spray gun.


I had seen all of these amazing picnic settings on the internet with mismatched rugs and cushions so I initially wanted to follow suit. Once I started investigating costs, even trusty old kmart and target had higher price tags than I was willing to invest in. Instead I took to spotlight to pick up 10 metres of light hessian for around $60 in place of rugs. I also lucked in to an off cut of yellow fabric for an extra $2 to cover an ottoman that I was trying to incorporate.


Ok so… not as cheap as expected! After trekking all over in search of some fun cushions, the cheapest cushions I found were just shy of $10 and I estimated I’d need 20… My idea was then to get some basic colourful cushions to add to the neutral grey cushions I already had at home then splurge on a couple of statement cushions. I went to the bed, bath and table outlet in DFO to grab some flamingo print cushions. If I wasn’t so time poor I would have bought some cheap fabric and made my own covers!

Photo Wall

Being a visual merchandiser has got some great perks such as having access to old props and creative elements we have used previously in displays. I work in a large retail store so I managed to get these awesome MDF cacti that had been used in our kids window display…perfect for my theme! I then asked my best friend (also a visual merchandiser) to suss out her VM room for suitable props and she got me some pink plastic banana leaves with wire through them to wrap along the top of the photo wall.

So whilst none of this had any cost attached I did buy a jute rug from kmart to complete the area.

Table Setting

  • 2 x white table cloth: as a table runner and for the drinks table
  • Mini cacti from Kmart and Bunnings (both artificial)
  • 3 x whole pineapples from the fruit shop
  • Bright napkins from Ikea

I was going to buy some plastic cups and plates to make the clean up super easy but I felt it would feel like a kids party so I decided to use the plates and glasses I had at home.

Drinks Table

  • Drink dispenser
  • Flamingo straws and cocktail stirrers from the sunnylife
  • 2 x White trays for bottled drinks
  • Platter for cookies
  • Straw basket for popcorn
  • Clear sign holder:  Using a pink chalk pen I wrote a sign for the drink dispenser


Not only was I conscious of my own dietary  requirements but my friends as well. I was determined to cater for all our needs as there were two vegans, two vegetarians and a couple of us with fructose intolerance in the group. Again I did not have all that long to prepare food so I made sure the menu was able to be prepared ahead of time so I could sit and enjoy myself on the day.

What I bought

  • Antipasto platter ingredients from Scicluna’s real food merchants
  • Wholegrain lowfod rolls from Bakers Delight
  • Organic, free range roast chicken
  • Sushi platter
  • Spicy tomato sauce by Nogo sauces
  • Fruit platter: Pineapple, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, kiwis and passionfruit
  • Mini sparkling water bottles from San Pellegrino
  • Sweet and salty popcorn from Cobs 
  • Grass fed butter

And the most delicious fructose friendly, Gluten free, Dairy free and Vegan custom cookies made by the pink sugar co. The owner Olivia was so lovely and although she is based in NSW she ships her sweet treats all over Australia. I highly recommend!

What I made


  • Mojitos: I modelled my mojitos off Jamie Oliver’s recipe but instead of rum, I used vodka (personal preference) and times it by 8 to fill the drink dispenser

Thankfully, everything came together seamlessly and although the set up took some serious energy, we lucked in on some beautiful spring weather worthy of the Palm Springs theme! The day was definitely worth all the work and preparation but luckily the next milestone is five years away.

Youknowchlo x x

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