Monday, February 21, 2011

OMG

So as if wrapping up my last week of work isnt stressful enough before the wedding (I am an Operations Manager so super busy), our junior administrator decides to quit today giving only 4 days notice.

Very unprofessional but what can I do?

So now day has had to be shuffled to fit in advertising for the position, interviews with resumes on file on top of everything else.

FML

Baked goods

Today is my last Monday at work for 3 weeks! I could not be happier - I haven't had a holiday in over2 years.




So the wedding is in 12 days and I am taking the week off prior to so this is my last week at work to get everything in order and finalised - not going to be an easy task with my boss off to Thursday.




Moving forward, as it is my last week, I decided to make morning tea for the team so so they would think nicely of me while I am away. No, seriously, I just thought morning tea would be a nice touch although I forgot how disorganised I am on a Sunday and the baking meant staying up till after 11pm last night running on little to no sleep already.




I made caramel butternut tarts and lime & coconut cupcakes. Both are a huge hit with the team and everyone has been very appreciative and complimentary.




Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unknown

I just love Liam Neeson.


I think he's such a great actor, I love his accent and am a fan of almost all his movies ... even Clash of the Titans much to S' disgust.


My favourite Liam Neeson movie is definitely Taken. Although a very disturbing premise with the human trafficking and its tentacles in addition to the believable nature of the plot, I really loved the movie.


Imagine my delight when Dicky (who calls themself Dicky by the way?) on The Today Show this morning was giving a review on a new Liam Neeson movie ... Unknown! I know, I got excited. Especially when they showed a trailer and Dicky then gave it 4 out of 5 stars.


Immediately upon getting to work I got busy checking movie session times and have already text S to book in either a 9:20pm session tonight or a 6:45pm Tuesday session. I must say though, if he doesn't commit to either promptly then I will go by myself this weekend while he is at his bucks weekend. Warning S, you snooze you lose.

I'm going to be a Skinny Mini ...

well hopefully! That's the goal anyway.

So I finally took the plunge and started the Skinny Mini detox on Monday - yep, the one I blogged about ages ago. I'm not usually such a procrastinator but a 5 day detox just hasn't been convenient in S and my schedule lately between parties, dinners and other social occasions.

Moving forward, this week seemed ideal to tackle the box sitting on my kitchen bench (I left it out to remind/mock me) as we had no dinner bookings or nights out planned. I started on Monday, dreading having my first juice mix upon waking up and let me tell you, apart from the fibres of fibre, it really wasn't awful - kind of like that juice concentrate you buy.


Now on the Skinny Mini detox you are allowed fresh fruit & veg (even potatoes before 3pm), brown/grain foods, eggs, lean meats ... and that's about all I can remember. You are not allowed sugar, caffeine (no coke is killing me), juice, white processed foods, dairy, alcohol etc - you get the idea I'm sure.

Surprisingly I am not struggling too badly although am pretty over eating eggs and would really love some cheese, a coke or an icy coffee milk. A glass of wine would be nice too but I'm not struggling as badly as I thought with the alcohol ban.

This is what I have eaten this week:

Mon - B wheat toast with no butter or spread, L subway wheat sub (stuffing removed) with turkey & salad no dressings, D vegie frittata

Tues - B poached egg on wheat toast no butter, L roast vegies, D huge green salad with honey soy chicken tenderloins

Wed - B poached egg on wheat toast no butter, L avocado and mushroom salad and frozen berries for dessert, D green salad with chopped bacon shortcut round

Thurs - B grilled bacon shortcut round on wheat toast no butter, L subway wheat sub (stuffing removed) with turkey & salad no dressings, D no idea!

So there is only Thursday dinner and Friday lunch and dinner to sort out and I've done it!

Surprisingly I have suffered no side effects from this detox and all appears to be quite normal and regular with me - this is good news as I was gearing up for headaches and all sorts. Thinking I might take the weekend off then do another week of the program next week given it hasn't been the traumatic experience I expected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Avoiding False Advertising - Keeping True to the Title


Well, considering my blog includes 'real estate' in the title, I thought it might be about darn time that I post something real estate orientated (other than my salespeople vents).


I guess I will start with a little wrap up of the Central Gold Coast market including beachside property.


The area in which I (and my office) are based comprises a huge demographic with property ranging from studios to full blown million dollar mansions. We deal with holiday investments, long term investments, first home buyers etc etc.


The past few months has been frighteningly scary in our area with little to no sales being made, big developments going into receivership, whispers of other big developments verging on receivership, real estate offices closing down daily... you get the idea, its like doomsday around here!


Luckily we have a amazing boss who also happens to be a very smart businessman. He has set our office up to be much more secure than the average real estate office and we function very nicely with around 30 staff.


January is traditionally our busiest month of the year for sales with the area overflowing with holidaymakers and people out and about taking advantage of the sunshine. This year January was a terrible month and the results gave all of our sales team a good fright I think.


On a positive note though, sales are looking up for February so far and we are seeing buyers returning to the market with renewed confidence. Certainly there are a lot more people showing up to inspections.


Rentals on the other hand are always crazy. We have a huge rent roll and rental department with all 11 staff constantly busy. I think our record of rented properties for the month is well over 60! Demand hasn't waned since the middle end of last year and we are only seeing this strengthen - particularly as many Brisbane residents affected by the floods have had to relocate to the GC given property demand up there.


Moving forward, I hope this post didn't bore you and that you will keep reading my blog :)

Valentines Day

What did you and your Valentine get up to yesterday?


S and I agreed not to make a big deal out of the Hallmark holiday as we have a wedding in 18 days which is a bit more of a priority. That said, we also aren't really into Valentines Day any other year either - its just not really our thing. Plus we went out for an amazing dinner Saturday night which counts towards romanticism I think.


So yesterday was a pretty average day for us although I decided to surprise S and had this delivered to his work:




Even though 'I cheated' according to him, I could tell how pleased he was by the small effort.


He in return bought me home a red flower (gerbera) and a little red Valentine teddy - cute!



I forgot though that he had soccer last night and that I would be home alone so I called M to keep me amused and we ended up being each other's Valentine as D was also out.

Jump to it

Right, like the title says, I really need to jump to it and sort out a pair of earrings to wear on my wedding day.


I have narrowed down a few selections but am struggling to make up my mind!




I am also buying these bracelets for my BMs to match the neutral elegant colour scheme:

Any thoughts or opinions so I can get this off my 'to do' list today?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Manchester United Wedding Garter update

This is the garter I bought/had made from Etsy:


Personalised to S' favourite sporting team, I think he will be pleasantly surprised and hopefully pleased to see this on our wedding day.


In other news, I had one very happy fiancee on Saturday night/Sunday with Man U winning the Manchester Derby over the City team by 1 point. Has anyone seen the Rooney goal replay - its been talked up as one of the greatest of all time.


Me, I'm just glad City lost as S would have been unbearable otherwise.

Saturday Night Dinner in Bulimba

So Saturday night after a huge day babysitting the gorgeous and super intelligent baby S, we headed to Brisbane to see M and D for something different. Plus given they have only recently moved up, its nice to make the effort to go up there rather than them having to come to the Coast every other weekend.


After a long drive to Bulimba (long because S was driving me crazy on the way), we arrived without having killed each other thankfully but also very pleased to get out of the confined space.


M and D had nominated a local restaurant called Sugo Mi for dinner and we set off down the main street to find it. It was a touch walk as the street was lined with delicious smelling restaurants and cafes we would have been all too happy to dine at.


We persevered and found ourselves at Sugo Mi. Absolutely packed but smelling so amazing, when we were told there would be a wait for a table, we happily took a seat at the bar for a drink.


We didn't even get through half of our drinks when we were seated and menus supplied. We agreed to get the best out of dinner we would order 2 pizzas and 2 pastas for everyone to share. This turned out to be a great idea in everyone's favour although D definitely won the pick of the night.


We ordered:


the piccante pizza - sugo (the special sauce), sopressa, mozarella and fresh chilli

the gamberoni pizza - garlic prawns, mozarella, boccocini, italian parsley and fresh chilli




the gnocchi - a very light blue cheese sauce with walnuts (this was to die for - absolutely delicious, we all argued over licking the bowl which is very unrefined but would have been totally worth it)





the parpadelle - free range duck ragu with caramelised onions, wilted spinach & pepper mascarpone





It was also extremely well priced with drinks and four mains coming in at under $50 per person. I cannot rave about this meal enough! The flavours were amazing but not overdone and we all left feeling satisfied but not stuffed.


Honestly, to steal FF's phrase - run don't walk people, you need to eat here!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Changing my mind

S is going to kill me! And I can't really blame him to be honest!


So we finally finalised our wedding cake this week. If you recall I wanted a tower of cheese wheels but S and my parents were very anti this so a lovely friend of ours took on the job of crafting our cake.


She created a sample for us and it was mindblowing - each tier was 4 layers with each layer alternating between blueberry almond & white choc to raspberry macadamia & white choc. It was divine and tasted amazing. Unfortunately when she priced the ingredients, they totalled some $650!!! I know, I don't even like cake, especially not $650 cake! She was spot on though as pricing the same cake through the pro's garnered quotes up to $1500!


Back to drawing board we settled on a 2 tier 50cm high dark choc mud with white icing and I paid for it today.


Then... I logged onto the Vogue forums to check out the bridal thread. Not a good idea! Some of the lovely voguettes were discussing their macaron tower cakes and very kindly posted pics (which of course I clicked on).


So, the macaron craze hasn't really hit the Gold Coast. Indeed, a google search of gold coast+macaron didn't elicit any local businesses. But on seeing the voguette pics, I have decided I HAVE TO HAVE A MACARON TOWER.




The good news is, I contacted our cake friend who has since been in contact to advise this is totally in her repertoire and she will play around with flavours over the weekend and give me the verdict on Monday!




Hooray!!!! I will have my macaron tower - I have a back up as there is a place in brisbane we can source the macarons from to make our own tower if necessary (always have a backup plan).


S will not be impressed I have changed things again but he is smart enough to know if I'm happy then his life will be easier. Love him :)

Lolly buffets, camp fire games & univited guests who wont leave

The title pretty much sums up Friday night of my Hens.


After a VERY hot day spent setting up our campsite, swimming and drinking Chandon, we settled in for dinner (homemade Chilli Con Carne with guac, sour cream, corn chips and salsa) and the evening's entertainment.


The first of the surprises was da da da daaaa:









A lolly buffet filled with all my old school favourites - whizz fizz, sherbert bottles, toffee apples, nerds, popcorn, gum balls and more.


After stuffing our noodle boxes (personalised with stickers of my hen's logo - I know sounds important with a logo and all) with all the goodies we could, we settled in with topped glasses to play celebrity heads.


Celebrity heads is always a laugh but even more so with heaps of competitive people who have consumed too much champagne. It took C & T's mother around half an hour to guess that she was 'Tarzan'. Me? I was Kate Middleton (which is harder than it sounds because she's not royalty yet and she's not a character, actress, singer or model).


Celebrity heads was followed up with pictionary on the whiteboard which led to lots of laughter and shouting which then lead to the campsite manager popping in to nicely ask us to keep it down. Then he pulled up a chair, ate the last 5 cupcakes, took a turn in pictionary and generally wouldn't leave - weird! Especially because it was clearly a hens event with all women.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lazarus Rising

If you have read my past blogposts you will know that I am a HUGE fan of little Johnny Howard!

Best Prime Minister Australia has had in my (and many others) opinion.



Moving forward, I had the privilege of meeting Johnny last year at a local Sports Lunch and it was here that I purchased his biography and had it inscribed - see pic below:




So I finally finished everything in my bookshelves for the fifth time (no easy feat as I have big bookshelves) and decided it was time to tackle 'Lazarus Rising' (JH's biography). Now being a fan of Johnny, you may wonder why it took me so long to actually start reading the book. Fair question. Well, biographies, particularly of the political variety are at times a little tricky to get into so I really have to be in the mood/frame of mind to start one or I wont end up making it past the first page.



The first key to getting started is 'alone time'! S doesn't like competing with a book for my attention. Sometimes we can sit in silence until I pick up a book and suddenly he has a million things to say. I know, annoying! Monday night was my first chance at alone time as S had soccer.



A glass of wine in hand, I settled in to read and was quite hooked from the beginning. I can identify so much with his upbringing (no, I didn't grow up in the 1940's etc) through his home life, parental influence and his religious beliefs/faith. His interest in politics and world events at a young age very much mirrors my own and I can absolutely respect the man behind the Prime Ministership (is that a word?).



I am looking forward to reading some more when S is otherwise occupied.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update on previous post 2

Packing for my hens weekend and M has very kindly provided a helpful list of necessities:


* clothes - cause apparently no one wants me to spend the weekend naked (good thing all round I feel)

* a towel - only one? I think I will bring 2 - can't use a swimming towel for showering

* swimmers - I thought this was kind of obvious as we are staying on the beach

* bedding - good idea, I am quite attached to my pillow

* a torch


... yep, and this is where the list got weird!


WTF a torch?


For starters I don't even own a torch - in case of blackouts, I rely on all those crappy candles I bought or was gifted with over the years.


Secondly, I go camping regularly (annually at least) and never use a torch as most holiday parks are pretty well lit.


I am now becoming concerned that activities or festivities may involve a Blair Witch Project element.


See the terror in this girl's eyes - yep, I experienced that just watching the movie!
M, if you still read my blog - I hated Blair Witch, it petrified me, scarred me even and a re-enaction for my hens would not be to anyone's benefit, particularly yours if you value your BM status :) (ps. luv u) xx

Jumping out of my skin...

BECAUSE ITS MY HENS THIS WEEKEND!


I know, I'm excited, can't you tell?


I don't know much in the way of details but apparently there is a very thorough itinerary covering Friday through to Sunday evening - sounds like a bit of a big deal doesn't it?


My only stipulations were to do with the guest list: I advised I would ultimately prefer a small group including my bridesmaids, sis in law, my mum, mother in law and my mum's 2 besties (one of whom is my celebrant & 3 of my BMs mother). Added to this were S' besties wives whom I love. I just find a smaller group is easier to manage and have fun with plus I had no idea where to draw the guest list line otherwise and could have ended up with 50+ invitees which was just too much.


I discovered the location for the weekend early on in the planning thanks to some sneaky coaxing from C and my sister being concerned that the plans wouldn't be what I wanted. C tried so hard to keep the venue a secret offering only one clue 'it will take you back to childhood'. Well considering I have known C from birth and no one can beat us in Taboo (cause we understand each other's thinking), one clue is all I needed ... 'camping in Byron Bay'. C was surprisingly shocked but replied 'ok, but you dont know where to which I replied 'Clarkes Beach'. C was totally shocked until I pointed out, what could sum up our childhood better than the camping trips our families used to take here every year!


Since then, everyone has been sworn to secrecy and I have no details except that there is a 'THING' on Saturday (really, it needs capitals from the tones the girls have when they mention it) and that my sis in law has planned hens games and M has had something to do with the planning of Saturday night's festivities. I also know C's sis T is in charge of food.


Cannot wait as these girls individually are ultimate party planners but combined, this weekend is going to be crazy!


It should also be entertaining to see some of the girls having to camp - 2 in particular :)


C, M and I set out Friday morning to set up the campsite - this will involve C and I setting up tents and M as far away as possible (to avoid the moaning and potential damage to the tents).








Ps. If you don't know Clarkes, check it out next time you are in Byron - its right on the beach just a short walk from town in one direction and the Lighthouse in the other.

The Office



Does anyone watch The Office - American sitcom with Steve Carrel?

Honest to goodness, it is the funniest show ever - it literally has me in stitches for the full 25 mins each episode goes for!

S got me on to it a few years ago and we watch it often on a boring weekend afternoon (especially rainy ones) to amuse ourselves.

S has just started downloading the latest US season of the show and I swear I am going to be so sad when it ends.

The boss Michael is just hilarious although I cringe when he gets right out of hand but the funniest to me are Dwight and Jim and their mindgames.


You seriously have to watch it and if you don't take to it at first then persevere for a couple of episodes and you will be hooked!


Here are some funny quotes:

Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I donno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me-- no, don't sue me. That is opposite the point I'm trying to make.

When I discovered YouTube, I didn't work for five days. I did nothing. I watched Cookie Monster sing Chocolate Rain about a thousand times.


ps. they get some great guest stars too but dont really need them - this season Will Ferrell (sp?) is guest starring.