Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walking & Magpies

Now, S and my wedding is coming up in March and after some discussion, we decided it wouldn't kill either of us to lose a couple of kilos between now and then.

How to go about dropping the kilos was hotly debated with me advocating walking/running and pilates while S didn't seem to have an actual plan apart from weights with L in the garage (the 2 boys have combined their benches, weights, bars etc to set up a garage gym). I explained that I would need S to walk/run with me still for safety reasons given the daylight attacks on female walkers that have recently occurred on the Gold Coast.

In the end S agreed to walk/run with me (he couldn't really argue though given the raeson I gave him) and we started on Monday night. We then got waylaid by our (read my) busy schedule and our next available timeslot was this morning at 6:15am.

I dragged S out of bed and we set off (it was bloody chilly this morning too). We were keeping a nice pace and I was pleased with our efforts until S opened his big mouth to tell me it was magpie swooping season and we had better watch out cause there are lots of them around our area. S also delighted in telling me the evil birds like to stalk first before starting their swoop attack.

From then on, the walk turned sour and I was petrified, glancing up every tree and turning around often to make sure I wasn't being stalked by one of those awful birds. S thought it was hilarious until we saw 3 of them in front of us! Luckily they were feeding on the ground and let us pass without incident (although I would backwards keeping my eyes on them till they were out of sight).

Once I had calmed and was walking with some ease, S then decided to play the joker and looked back before breaking into a run. Me of course assumed he had seen a magpie swoop and jumped a mile before sprinting myself. He cracked up laughing and said 'gotcha'.

Not happy Jan! S and my walking days might be severely limited if he plans to keep this up!

ps. I am tempted to email our local councillor and suggest he start posting some signs in the area like those below (either that or I'm going to get a cat)...

Ricotta Gnocchi & Egplant Salsa

Last night I decided to surprise S with culinary skills ...

I sourced a recipe from the Masterchef website - Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant Salsa, one of the junior recipes (figured it would be less complicated - and set about picking up the ingredients after work. Can you believe that the Broadbeach Woolworths doesn't stock Romano cheese? I know, I wasn't impressed either and figured my next best option would be to substitute with parmesan.

Arrived home laden with grocery bags (I forgot to take my environmentally friendly ones which was not a good effort on my part) to find S playing around with new badges for his car. He looked up, asked 'what's all that?' to which I replied dinner. He asked what was for dinner and when I told him, he asked if I even knew what I was doing.

I was more than a little offended by his question as I get this often from him despite being quite a proficient domestic goddess with no kitchen disasters lurking in my past (that I can recall right now). He tells me its because I'm so easy to 'wind up'.

Anyways, so I like to experiment in the kitchen and was looking forward to this recipe although when I actually took the time to read the method beyond the ingredients, it was pretty basic. Like all good Italian dishes, there is only a handful of ingredients so while S was prepared for a lengthy wait to sit down to dinner, he was surprised when I called him to the table with 30 minutes.

I'm a really slack blogger and forgot to take pictures before we ate so the best I can do is post a pic I found that looks similar to what I served (I forgot to garnish with fresh basil though, even though I have my own herb boxes).


S was pleased with the end result although to be honest, I like eggplant a lot less than I thought and won't be putting the salsa on regular rotation.

For a simple but yummy meal, I recommend you download this recipe to try! Its beyond easy, quite tasty and actually quick to prepare.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teppanyaki

What's not to love?

Serves of fresh delicious food with the added bonus of entertainment while you eat.

S & I just adore teppanyaki for lunch or dinner.

Our favourite restaurants are Murasaki in Broadbeach and Kamikaze in Robina for lunchtimes and the very special Beni Hana at The Marriott for dinners.

We always order tempura vegetable to share then I have teppan sirloin steak and S has chilli prawns. Sometimes we mix it up though and I have combo teppan prawns & steak while S has chilli prawns and steak - I know, adventurous of us.

I also am a fan of Shogun in Bundall, but mostly for the entertainment and the food is better quality at Beni Hana (I think).

We had my sis in law's hens night starting at Beni Hana last year. Here are some happy snaps from the occasion:






Who will you be cheering for NRL peoples?


Me? I don't have a lot of choice in my family, its either cheer for the Roosters or be disowned!


My father is a diehard Roosters fan having grown up in the Eastern 'burbs of Sydney and has tried to instill the same allegiance in all of us, his 4 children.


He didnt have much luck with me as I barely even followed the NRL till the Gold Coast got the Titans and my littlest brother is about the same. But, my little brother was converted till he got old enough to choose his own team (the Bulldogs much to my father's disgust and now the Titans) - we have pics of him about 2 yo wearing a Roosters jersey, undies and socks holding a supporters ball, its very cute but he would kill me if I ever posted it. My sister on the other hand is our father's daughter through and through when it comes to the NRL and the Roosters. She has never wavered in her support of them, not even last year when they were wooden spooners - that is commitment people!


So this year, I will be watching the big game with my sis and endeavouring to keep her calm as our father, brothers and uncles will be watching the game live - the boys have a grandfinal trip each year but its a male thing only (Karly tried to crash this year once the Roosters were confirmed but luckily for the boys, she couldn't make the flight schedule work).


My dad has very generously pulled out all his Roosters jerseys and has enough for each family member to wear one (and then some) so on Sunday, I will be at my parent's home (my sis is too highly strung to watch the game in public) wearing the tri colours and drinking to numb the boredom.

Cufflinks

Well, I've really been very slack on the wedding posts lately so thought I would throw one into the mix today.

We finally got our cufflinks sorted today for the boys after days of nagging S to please have a look at my shortlist online and choose SOMETHING!


I found the site http://www.thecuffshop.com.au/ through a lovely Voguette rec (honestly, those girls can be just so helpful). For just $100 you can get 7 pairs of cufflinks. Such a great price and the right number for our bridal party.

These were my shortlist:

My sis K and I loved the black knots as she pointed out the pink ones were a bit dated (I thought they were modern) and the initials too casual for wedding but by the time S finally checked them out, the black knots were sold out grrrrr so then I came up with these:


But in the end, S decided he liked the initials idea best and me just being happy that a decision had been made, went ahead and humoured him by ordering the initials before they too sold out.

Another job ticked on the list!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My (Great) Uncle Jimmy

So sadly, I have no grandparents.

My dad's dad passed away when I was 5 and his mum when I was about 12 then my mum's parents both passed away only in the last 3 years.

I have some solid good memories of my dad's parents - watching Hayley's Comet with my poppy and reading trashy novels at age 11 with my nan - but my best memories are of my mum's parents who I was very close to.

They lived only around the corner from us for the 10 or so years prior to their passing and not a day went by that I didnt visit them (unless I was away). I would call in on my way home from work every night for a Carlton Cold or glass of Coolibah soft fruity white and keep them company.

When S and I first started dating, I told him I couldnt meet him for dinner till 7:30pm as I had to visit my grandparents first. He later told me he thought I was making it up so I didnt have to spend as much time with him.

My grandparents were all really special and I miss them very much as they were taken from my family far too early (they all passed away before reaching 65).

I'm lucky though that I still have my Uncle Jimmy. He is really my mum's uncle and was my granny's eldest brother - there was 11 brothers and sisters in total. Uncle Jimmy is around 85 and lives in Goulburn. He always came up to stay with my grandparents, especially when they got sick and needed the extra help.


Because Uncle Jimmy is pretty much all the family mum has left (long story), mum flies him up for all the family special occasions including weddings, E parties, Christmas and milestone birthdays. Uncle Jimmy is just the sweetest man and my brothers and sister and I love having him visit. He's so independent too and healthy as an ox, he regularly trips around to country music festivals and makes his own music cds.

This week's Country Road purchases

How can you resist a Country Road sale, especially when armed with a birthday gift voucher and an extra 25% storewide?


That's right, you cant!


So last week, I was surprisingly restrained and bought:


a pair of tan brown wedges (never been a wedges girl but these are really comfortable and look great on)
a blue soft singlet with embellished flat studs around the neckline
(cant find the photos of these sorry)


I also popped into the Oroton store and picked up a keyring to hang on my pink Entourage bag (it was looking a little naked):


I have also decided to pop over to Pacific Fair in my lunch break today (damn you for being only 5 mins from my work) as I need to add to my work dress collection and Cue is on sale. S wouldnt agree I need to add (I already 5 or so) but dresses are just so convenient, especially for summer - its almost a whole outfit that doesnt require any thought apart from matching shoes.

What do you think of this bag?

C came shopping with me on Sunday to Robina - she is an enabler and fully supported my handbag purchase, even defending me to S and my mum (she is a true best friend).

So after we made my purchase, C jumped on the bandwagon and decided she was due for a new handbag too.

We discussed options and browsed Mimco and Oroton but she felt they didn't offer anything that was her style or made her go wow.

We browsed DJs bag section but again, no wow factor.

Strolling through the arcade though, we happened to glance in the Marcs window and there was WOW on two bags!

On investigating the bags up close, we discovered they were just $149 - bargain price I felt!





Now C is trying to decided whether to get both styles or just one and if so, which one and what colour? My answer, buy them all ... or at least one in each style :)

Best Birthday Weekend Ever

I'm so lucky (and spoilt).

My birthday was not limited to one day but rather, an entire long weekend and then some.

It all started with lunch out on Thursday at Latin Quarter with my boss and friends - the boss paid for lunch too (he is very thoughtful like that).

Then Friday my mum, her 85 yo uncle (Jimmy), my sis & her husband and my bestie C and baby S all met me for lunch at Envy Hotel - my mum paid for my lunch this time.

Friday night S and I went to an engagement party then Saturday I spent the day with M & C drinking wine and lots of laughing.

Saturday night I went to an annual awards evening at the Casino for work and Sunday, S and I enjoyed a late brekky then I went shopping followed by dinner with my fam and friends at Earth'n Sea - best pizzas.

Over the course of the weekend, I was totally spoilt and given lots of DJs gift cards in lieu of presents so that I could buy some new sunglasses (loving the Chanel 5171s).

I went into DJs on Sunday with all intentions of buying new sunglasses but was quickly distracted by the Oroton display - what can I say, I'm addicted to handbags.

Anyways, instead of sunglasses, I walked out as the proud new owner of the Oroton Venice bag:



S is not impressed, he rightfully pointed out that I have bought 3 Oroton bags this year. Oh well, I'm a happy camper with this new baby in my wardrobe, just need to convince S that I really do need a new pair of Chanel's to match the bag now :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My birthday...

is on Friday!

I know, it snuck up very quickly.

I am trying not to think about the part where I turn another year older and edge closer to the big 3 0, instead focussing on the lunches, dinners and kind messages that go with celebrating my birthday.

My birthday means lunch the day before with K (my old supervisor), T (our bookkeeper at work who is in once a week on a Thursday) and our boss M. It always involves a glass of french champagne and a delicious meal somewhere nice. Not sure where to go this year, tossing up between RockSalt & Latin Quarter...

I then get taken out to lunch on Friday (my actual bday) by my mum and lil sis which always makes for an entertaing time. I think we will go to Envy as the menu I saw a few days ago looked quite yummy.

S and I have his cousin's E Party on Friday night (unfortunately I had to sacrifice the Titans semi for this but still looking forward to it) and I have a work annual awards ball on Saturday night so we will be doing dinner with my family and extras on Sunday night at the newly opened Robina Earth'n Sea - looking forward to all 16 of us sitting down to a meal as its always loud, entertaining and lots of fun.

Everyone keeps asking what I want for my birthday and to be honest, I am stumped. I have a tendency to buy something if I want it so there is not really anything I want that I dont already have when it comes to birthdays and Christmas. With this in mind, I decided the best present would be a pair of Chanel 5171s in black to replace my longsuffering pair of mother of pearl CC's. Everyone now has the option to donate $$ or giftcards and they all seem pretty pleased I have taken the pressure off them this year.

Note - I tried to put up pics of the restaurants & my sunglasses but they aren't loading grrr

Update on previous post

For my besties birthday last week, I ended up gifting her with ...


a Spencer & Rutherford travel wallet.


The perfect present as she loves S & R and is also about to embark on an overseas holiday to Thailand.


I hosted a dinner party for her birthday dinner with lots of wine and our besties C & L in attendance. M was a very happy birthday girl!

Some wedding snaps







My sister was married on Saturday. She made the most stunning bride.








Country Road Pacific Fair

I have finally secured one of my lemmings...

The Country Road grey marle tie-waist skirt



I have been stalking this skirt on ebay since it left the store and have tried calling around Australia for the skirt but met a million dead ends as I didn't know the item code.

So yesterday I decided on one last try and called my local store to see if they had taken any delivery of earlier season stock for the sale including this skirt.

The lovely Emma was super helpful, went through their lookbook, figured out the item code, searched the computer and tracked down the skirt in my size. It is now on hold awaiting my collection.

I just love Country Road staff, they are always so helpful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don'ts for Husbands & Wives



These are the most entertaining little books. Written in 1913 by Blanche Ebbutt, these books offer advice to husbands and wives for a successful marriage.

In all honesty, they are completely hilarious and although a little outdated, there is truth to some suggestions:


FOR WIVES: Don't let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of the color sense, he must be forcibly restrained, but -- don't be sarcastic about your husband's taste in dress.


FOR WIVES: Don't try to excite your husband's jealousy by flirting with other men. You may succeed better than you want to. It is like playing with tigers and edged tools and volcanoes all in one.

FOR HUSBANDS: Don't give up cricket, or football ... or whatever outdoor sport you have been accustomed to just because you are married. Athletics will keep you from becoming flabby.

For wives: Don’t forget to ‘feed the brute’ well. Much depends on the state of his digestion. Don’t keep your sweetest smiles and your best manners for outsiders; let your husband come first.

For husbands: Don’t flirt with other women. Your wife may or may not be jealous, but she will certainly despise you if you do. Don’t try to ‘drive’ your wife. You will find it so much easier to lead her.

They are a bargain at around $7.95 per book so I ordered them online from Angus & Robertson to gift to my sister and her husband this weekend - that's right, the wedding of the year is happening this Saturday and I cannot wait!

I think my sister and brother in law will get a good laugh out of these as they both have a great sense of humour and love to debate who wears the pants - my brother in law is smart enough though to agree my sister is always in charge.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy and Sad all at once


I just had the best and worst news!


My best friend M phoned to tell me she received a promotion she applied for last week.


Now, as a best friend, I am understandably delighted, over the moon and thrilled for the opportunity this presents to her (especially as she has been feeling a little stale and uninspired in her present role).


The sad part is, it means she will be relocating to Brisbane as the job is based there and her partner D already commutes from here to works up there.


This big move is going to happen in October so I dont have much time to come to terms with it all and am selfishly very sad because C & M & I all live less than 2kms from each other so I am used to M being 2 mins away by car, dropping in on her way home for a quick catchup, popping over on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to hang out cause we're both bored. These are the advantages of being around the corner from each other and its all going to change.


Okay, selfish part over, YAY M on your promotion (not that there was any doubt in my mind you would get it)!

Recent Ebay Buys & Lemmings

Ebay is a massive addiction for me and has been for many years now. I spend a sizeable amount of time each week searching, watching and bidding.

Both my mum and S are aware of and alert to my addiction so it involves a fair amount of sneakiness. To combat anyone catching on to just how much I buy on ebay, I have some parcels sent to my parents, some to my place and some to work. This was a necessary measure as at one point I had a parcel arriving everyday to my parents so I switched to my home and both mum and S pounced. The new system works nicely and has kept me out of any major trouble thus far although I need to be careful arriving home with the packages (using the car for storage is not really an option as I have a company car that is sometimes driven by other staff during the day).

My friends are well aware of my addiction too but support rather than judge - it means they have better clothes to borrow from me.

Here are two of my recent ebay purchases:




Bardot puff sleeve coat - loved this in the store and wanted the black one but left it too late and by the time I went back they were all sold out






Martini dress - I fell in love with the Marc Jacobs Alessandra dress on Gossip Girl but haven't been able to justify $300 or so dollars buying it with a wedding to pay for but came across this version yesterday (not a fan of knock-offs but will give this a go till I can buy the real thing)

Here are two of my lemmings (let me know if you see them around):

Country Road skirt




Sass & Bide dress

Friday, September 10, 2010

U2

Forgot to post this the other day....

U2 are one of my favourite bands of all time and YAY, I GOT TIX TO THEIR SHOW!






I love all their music, especially the Achtung Baby album with One, Who's gonna ride your wild horses and End of the World. I also love All I Want is You and the tradition Bono has of dedicating it to his wife whenever he sings it. I also own their Live from Slane Castle DVD which I watch over and over and over again - it was a birthday gift from L after we had watched his copy to death.




Anyways, so in the excitement and panic, I actually messed up my first ticket order and only got 2 seated tix (1 for me and 1 for S) then remembered I wanted to get 4 (me, S, C & L). So I had a minor freak out wondering if I would be able to even log back in to ticketek and try for a second order of 4.

Surprisingly I had no problems getting back in and buying 4 tix altogether - dont tell S though as he doesnt know about the extra 2 tix we have :)

It was such a big deal to have C & L come to the concert as we saw U2 together last time they toured and it was both C & L's first ever concert experience (I know, how do you get to 26+ and have not been to a concert). Also, Jay Z is L's favourite entertainer (S & I are fans too but in the same league as L). So lucky for me, it all worked out.




C & L were thrilled we included them, I am now just hoping to get rid of the other 2 tix before S finds out!

Today's Purchases & Wedding Perfume

This morning I realised I have almost run out of foundation and powder. Luckily its not a emergency stages though as I order these products through Strawberrynet and they usually take about 5 business days to arrive.

My HG foundation - Teint Idole by Lancome (usually $92 at Myer but only $52 at SN before my loyalty discounts)



My current powder - MAC Studio Fix $35 at SN (I was strongly advised against this product by my wedding makeup artist but it seems to do the job - a light swipe to seal my foundation):



I didn't buy this but am considering doing so:


Eau Mega by Viktor & Rolf. My favourite (and every other day) perfume is Flowerbomb but I don't want to wear this for my wedding as I feel the wedding deserves its own new and special scent. I am quite liking Eau Mega and leaning towards it as my wedding perfume.

Can anybody suggest anything similar to Flowerbomb or Coco Mademoiselle (my other fave) for consideration?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Birthday Pressie for M

Its my bestie M's birthday next Friday and I need to get her a present.

I am a bit stuck on what to buy this year as M can be a little fussy and has a very different style to me in most cases.

I have previously bought her engraved wine glasses, a slowcooker, music dvds, Country Road tunic and a whole host of other random things.

She always compliments me on these earring so they are a consideration:






or maybe a Country Road beach towel and matching bag:





or day spa massage voucher:


Any suggestions? M is my best friend and such a wonderful person so I want to get her something special.

Hens Weekend Rundown

Wow, what a weekend! Thankfully I survived and my sister had the time of her life!

After a week of intense preparations, we started the hens celebrations on Friday night with a gathering of girlfriends at my house. Much wine was drunk, homemade pizzas made and consumed and of course lots of gossiping and laughter. We finished the night watching The Blindside - love that movie and am always filled admiration for the amazing woman that made such an incredible difference in one person's life.

Early start Saturday began with a surprise day for my sis with me taking her to the Marriott for a buffet brekky where we relaxed poolside before moving on to Splash Day Spa where I booked us in for a 1 hour relaxation massage followed by a sugar rub scrub for her then some more relaxation in the mineral pools. K was suitably surprised and thrilled with the plans and treatment and we enjoyed a lovely sister time together sipping Grant Burge.

Upon leaving the spa, it was time to check into the hotel I booked for the night, The Meriton in Broadbeach. Funnily enough, we ended up on the 20th floor in an apartment right next door to where my bestie M lives.

We spent the afternoon decorating the fabulous ocean view apartment Mexican Fiesta style while sipping wine and watching K have her makeup trial which came out stunning and exactly as she dreamed.

Guests arrived soon after with most in bridesmaids dresses including C & M who went all out with 80's style getups that made everyone laugh.

Margarita glasses were decorated and personalised, games were played, quizzes completed and before we knew it, it was time to head to East for our bottle service booking.





The service from East was a little disappointing as our tables were not ready when we arrived nor were our pre-ordered bottles but K made up for it by setting out to complete her dares while we were waiting. This included finding someone old, someone new, someone borrowed and someone blue and having a photo with each of them. She found the oldest person in the club, an 18 year old, a guy in a blue shirt and jeans and finally another hen (someone borrowed). The other hen then required K to complete a dare for her which K did with ease before moving on to her next one, find a guy and borrow his mobile phone to call the last dialled number and speak with the person on the other end. K found a guy who thought it very amusing and lent her his phone - turns out his last dialled number was his mum but she didnt answer so K left a message explaining who she was and why she was calling.

Lots of dancing and vodka later, it was time to take K home (before she was asked to leave) and we headed for pizza then our hotel to put K to bed.

K fell asleep almost instantly but woke up the next day with the world's worst hangover. There were others worse though with one of her friends carrying a bucket with her anywhere she went. LOL

I had booked brekky at Koi in Broadbeach for the Sunday but K just wanted Maccas and bed before her kitchen tea booked for the afternoon so I obliged and got her home to rest before the next round of festivities.

The kitchen tea started at 3pm with a Mad Hatters theme. We had 20 or so guests arrive with headpieces (tiaras, fascinators, hats) to enjoy tea, champagne and an enormous assortment of sweet and savoury delicacies. We enjoyed watching guests' wedding dvds, looking at guests' wedding pics, sharing our fondest wedding memories, 'dressing the bride' with toilet paper and plastic bags, guessing the white powder from the pantry and mingling for such a happy occasion.



By 6pm, our guests were fading from the weekend's festivities and K was almost asleep on her feet but everyone agreed it had been a wonderful weekend of celebration and K shared that she was appreciative of everyones' efforts and attendance in making it so special for her.

Wine Tours, Anna's & S' Fire Starter Attempt

Very delayed follow up post to my Stanthorpe adventures so I apologise most sincerely - last week was all about my sis' hens night which swelled to entire weekend proportions so all else was put on hold in the meantime (will post about the hens night after this one is done).
So, where were we? Waiting for the bus to arrive to take us on our wineries tours.

Bob our bus driver (very nice man, request him if you ever book a Filippos Tour) picked us up in a very comfy coach and whisked us to our first winery of the day, Rumbalara. S & I were both nervous as to how we would 'back up' after the night before and sipped our first sample apprehensively. One sip was all I needed to put me back into gear and ready for an entire day of wine tasting.

Rumbalara was a great winery owned by South Africans who named their 5 main wines after the big 5 animals of Africa - Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino. We sampled each and left with 3 bottles of wine and some homemade BBQ sauce/relish. These purchases set the tone for our day.

Next we set off for Granite Belt winery, a kind of tin shed out in the middle of nowhere. Lovely wines plus a very informative guide made for an interesting session. I also discovered that the Granite Belt wineries has predominately selected the Verdelho wine as their signature for the area (I was happy with this as I quite enjoy a verdelho).





More bottles later, we set off for Masons winery where we enjoyed the warmth in a country style cottage and delicious lunch - veg lasagne & salad for me and bangers & mash for S. Feeling quite tipsy after 3 wineries, food was very welcome and we followed this up with a visit to Mt Stirling olives where S made friends with a Basset Hound named Barney.






Castle Glen was also on our itinerary - a large castle like building filled to the brim with liquers of every possible kind! They had Goji berry, curry flavour (ewwwww) and whatever else you could imagine. I'm not a big fan of liquers apart from the odd limoncello so enjoyed sitting on an armchair here near the fireplace.





After the liquers, we visited The Dairy Shop which had a delicious variety of cheeses but I personally didnt enjoy it thanks to odours coming from the cheese room - the fermenting and maturing etc really smells gross.



Last winery of the day, The Summit. S and I especially enjoyed this tasting session as we snagged the table and chairs closest to the fireplace (it was freezing by this stage people, 4pm was way colder than the morning) plus the wines were lovely. I especially enjoyed the sparkling and also the special topshelf sample they provided us - Tempranillo. Its a red spanish grape evidently with a floral kind of flavour. Very different to anything I've tasted and S surprised me by purchasing a bottle of this for us to enjoy in the future.



It was 6pm by the time we got back to our accommodation and we were both completely exhausted but I insisted we keep our dinner booking at Annas, a local italian restaurant highly recommended by locals and tourists alike.

Prior to dinner though, it was important to get some feeling back into our limbs and warmth in our cabin so S got to work building and lighting a fire. This was entertaining to the max with him fussing but not really knowing how to go about it. We had a small block of firestarter which S used to get the flames going and we left for dinner with a warm fire burning.

Anna's was amazing! A big old restored Queenslander with fireplaces dotted all around. There were some 200 people seated to dine and a delicious Italian buffet laid out. No pasta or pizza, instead we had stuffed mushrooms, zucchini flowers, fresh gnocchi, antipasto platters, mussels, arancini, rib eye marsala and much more. S and I stuffed ourselves silly with the yummiest of foods and got out of there to get home to our fire.



We walked in and our fire was dead! By this stage I was so tired and just wanted bed so told S not to worry and to just get in bed and warm it up for me. S decided though that he really wanted a fire so after ages of trying to use a lighter to spark a log (didn't work needless to say) he decided to drive and find a service station to get some more firestarter. I curled up on the lounge to watch the channel 9 election coverage and S returned quickly with a whole block of firestarter which he broke into pieces and threw into the fire (all of it!). Quite quickly, the fire was raging so strong and hot that our cabin was like a sauna and I could hardly breath.

Of course this didnt last and I woke up at 2am freezing cold and muscle sore from holding myself rigid. I next awoke at 8:30am but refused to leave bed till 9:30am when it was a bit warmer (not by much though). Dressing as quickly as possible, S and I left and set out to find breakfast. We ended up out the back of nowhere at Ballandean winery which conveniently had a cafe/restaurant where we enjoyed a yummy hot cooked brekky and followed it up with some wine tasting and buying - best Merlot.

It was then time for home and the scenic drive passed quickly with S and I exclaiming it felt like we had been away for a week when we walked in our front door.

People, you must visit Stanthorpe, even just for a mini break like ours. So much to do, see and enjoy.

ps. we came home with 13 bottles of wine and a large selection of relishes, sauces and condiments.