Thursday, August 19, 2010
Subsequently in my hours of googling Stanthorpe and its attractions, I came across this website: www.bramblepatch.com.au/
My parents actually visited the Bramble Patch a few weeks ago but didnt really give me any details other than that it was a jam/chutney produce place and worth a visit - they were too busy raving about the wines and wineries visited.
Now a little known secret about S outside of close friends and family is that he has a severe and serious addiction to condiments! That's right, chutneys, marmalades, sauces, spices, dukkahs etc. Our pantry and shelves are jampacked with condiments from farmers markets, supermarkets and anywhere S can source them.
If you check out the Bramble Patch website, it looks like a condiment lovers' idea of heaven to me and I'm sure it will be S favourite place in Stanthorpe, I just have some concerns about how we will transport all S' purchases home.
Too be honest though, it is an addiction I kind of enjoy and I have already made a list of items to purchase from the Bramble Patch website - beginning with the red onion marmalade, berry coulis, berry vincotta, spicy tomato & shiraz & tom/basil sauces, tomato kassoundi, lime pickle and fortified wines.
I think our little break to Stanthorpe is going to be any expensive one when I factor in visits to the Bramble Patch and 8 wineries.
For my sister's hens night, I plan to have a goodie bag for each guest (filled with ring pop lollies, candy lipstick & bracelets, pink ribbon merchandise and other little knick knacks) and include a dare to be completed in those goodie bags of the guests that are joining us at the nightclub after the formal celebrations.
Now it was actually kind of tricky to come up with dares for this group as I knew anything tacky would just be ignored and not completed (eg. collect a guy's phone number, get a guy to buy you a drink) thereby ending the game before it begins.
So after much googling, I snared a variety of dares from different hens sites:
• Collect one red sock
• Sing on a microphone or stand on a stage and sing
• Have a photo of yourself taken with a bartender
• Ask for someone’s autograph while pretending they are famous
• Have a photo of yourself taken behind a bar
• Collect a purple lighter
• Collect a man’s tie
• Have a photo of yourself taken with a bouncer
• Collect a taxi receipt
• Convince a man you used to be a guy
• Collect a business card from a stranger (cannot be a card from or associated with the nightclub)
• Walk around the nightclub with 2 pegs on your top, one on each shoulder
• Find and photograph the male equivalent of the Spice Girls: Scary, Sporty, Baby, Posh & Ginger
And my favourite,
• FOR THE BRIDE: Find someone old, someone new, someone borrowed and someone blue (can be a policeman or someone wearing blue) and have a photo with each.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
With this in mind, I decided we should go away for a night or weekend. Here came the hard part! Trying to decide where to go. I am over Byron Bay as a weekend destination given we spend around 2 weeks at Lennox Heads over Christmas and I absolutely despise the Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast drive for some reason. So where does that leave us?
Well, my parents, along with their besties (my bestie Cs parents) went to Stanthorpe for a weekend last month and came back raving about the place. Surrounded by wineries, apple farms, lavender farms and jamworks, this sounded like a lovely place to spend a weekend with S(apart from the freezing cold nights).
So based on the familial reviews, I have booked accommodation (with a wood fireplace) for Saturday night and two seats on a reputable wine tour - so neither of us need to be designated driver.
It will take us about 3 hours to get to Stanthorpe where we will check into our accommodation then will be collected by the tour company for a day of wineries (sounds like heaven I know). According to their confirmation email, we will tour around 6-8 wineries, enjoy lunch at one, visit some local producers (apple farm, lavender farm, Brambles Patch, the olive farm, cheese shop) and some of the other attractions. The following day I guess we will wander around and visit anything we missed the day before.
S and I are very excited for the weekend and are looking forward to spending some quality time together before the round of wedding related events start.
I will be sure to take lots of pics and post them and my adventures upon return from Stanthorpe.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
We got seated, ordered a bottle of wine and had a lovely time catching up on all the latest happenings and people watching. We also enjoyed the yummiest turkish braed & dips (pesto, sundried tom tapenade and some sort of eggplant paste). Considering arranging a dinner here one night in the near future.
At about 8pm, we thought we had better grab something to eat before going home (M had to work Saturday morning) and M voted pizza so we enjoyed a slice each and hopped in a cab home.
Arriving home, S was watching the Titans vs Eels game so I changed into my tracksuit and settled into join him for the end of it. Wow, what a game! The Titans are truly a great team, just very inconsistent at the best of times but the second half of this game was easily one of their best.
As I posted on my little cousin's facebook (she is a dedicated Eels fan), 'the Hayne Plane crashed and burned with the whole Parra team on board'. LOL
Friday, August 6, 2010
Fast forward through an uneventful flight to Melbourne with my mum, sis K & littlest bro J during which I slept fitfully and we're at Tullamarine airport. Freezing and grey, it was pretty much what I expected and dressed for (grey wool jumper dress with black singlet & tights underneath, black scarf, black ballet flats and a heavy wool Topshop coat).
We delivered our bags to the hotel (Crown Promenade) and decided to take J on a tour of the sights (he has never been to Melbourne). We walked through the Casino and settled at one of the cafes for a ham, cheese and tomato croissant and coffees (fresh squeezed juice for me as I dont drink hot drinks). K and I wanted to get our shopping out of the way so mum and J joined us on walking to South Wharf DFO to hunt some bargains. J ended up finishing better here than us with mum spoiling him rotten (he's the baby so we are all guilty of this). I left with a new Cue tailored blazer for $89 and a pair of long Peter Alexander bedshorts for S (just $15).
Following our DFO visit , we headed back to our hotel room to drop off our bags before venturing along Southbank into the City. We had decided on DJ's foodhall for lunch and finally finding it after much wandering and the distraction of Haighs (love the coconut roughs). Unfortunately the DJs foodhall was too tricky an option as K is on a gluten-free diet so we found a tiny little Italian restaurant in one of the cafe alleyways for lunch. It was called Olios ??? and was tucked away with some rustic little decor including stainless steel strainers, mismatched cutlery and wine served in water tumblers. J & I had pizza (I know, I was overdosing on pizza after having it for dinner Friday night), mine was a quattro formagi (sp?) with brie, fetta, mozzarella and parmesan with fresh basil and tomatoes. K had hot chips with aoli (after all that) and mum had bruschetta. Delicious meal and then were were off again to find markets and explore more of the City.
After much wandering and a visit to the Melbourne gaol (see pic of J below walking on the fake grass), we decided to head back to the hotel for in-room happy hour and to prep for an early dinner before Mary Poppins. We picked up a bottle of Giesen, a selection of cheese and crackers and a few beers for J and settled back in the room to gossip and laugh while debating our dinner options.
We decided on the steak restaurant in Crown for dinner but they dont take bookings and we were informed at the door there was an hour wait for a table (at 5:30pm). Grrrr. Turns out the Pies and Carlton played that day plus the Wallabies and All Blacks were playing that night so the Crown was at capacity. We were directed to a restaurant within the sportsbar and were lucky enough to nab the final table. The staff were very accommodating and served us quickly after we advised of our theatre booking. J and I both had a huge rump steak served with diane sauce and french fries, mum had the T-bone and K had vegies and a baked potato. Including drinks, the meal was only about $130 for 4, the food was great and the servings huge!
My strange sister felt that the theatre was only a short walk from the Casino and wanted to take a stroll but was overruled when we showed her a map of the distance :) We were deposited at the theatre rapidly and spent the time before the show queuing for merchandise to add to the Broadway stock we already have.
The Show ... Mary Poppins was just magical! The actors were fabulous, truly suited to their parts and you just couldn't have hoped for a better lead than Verity Hunt-Ballard. She was Mary Poppins to a T and certainly did justice to the role - she looked and sounded the part. What surprised me was the inclusion of Marina Prior. I had no idea she was in the cast and was absolutely thrilled as she is one of my faves (loved her in Phantom). My sister and I agreed that she just stole the show everytime she was onstage as Winifred Banks.
People, I must absolutely insist ... RUN dont walk to see the show! If you love Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews or just good theatre, you will not be disappointed.
K, my mother and J were thrilled to have seen the show and did not stop singing its praises the whole way home - which unfortunately was by way of the most foulest smelling taxi I have ever been in! It was after 10:30pm and utterly freezing yet we had to have all the passenger windows down in order to breath. We were relieved to arrive back at the Casino and decided to enjoy a drink before heading to our room for bed - we were all exhausted having been on the go since 4am.
This is where the frustration began ... you could not move in the casino! Every single bar was at least 6 deep of people waiting to order drinks and we were shoved and jostled mercilessly. In the end, we gave up due to mine and K's sore feet and decided to hit up the mini bar instead. I think we were all dead to the world by 12pm (after K and I made quick goodnight phone calls to our fiancees - both at the pub).
Sunday update to come...