Thursday, June 30, 2011

Looming Large

My 30th birthday is looming large on the horizon... its just under 3 months away.

So as you may have previously read, I have requested that S throw me a huge surprise party on my actual birthday (its a Saturday this year... convenient I know). I had intended to sneakily communicate the party requirements through M and C to S - I can't help it, I'm a control freak with this sort of thing.

Well, after a chat with my childhood best friend C on Saturday afternoon, the original plan is out the window much to S' relief ...

We had previously discussed but not confirmed having a joint party given that we have all the same friends and our families are like one big family plus C's birthday is in December (two days before Christmas) so she would rather do something around October when people are available.

Now we are definitely doing the joint party!

We have come up with hiring a luxury waterfront mansion on the Gold Coast (Sovereign Islands, Sorrento, Mermaid Waters etc) for 3 nights and having us, our husbands and M and D stay the whole time. The actual party will be held waterside at the property from 3pm Saturday - think Hamptons white theme with cocktails, mini meals ... all very elegant and grownup (we are turning 30 after all).

Here is some of my inspiration:

Thoughts or suggestions welcome?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I am a true child of the eighties... I love:

Rainbow Brite - I had the movies, dolls, sprites, books, dress up outfit and more

Strawberry Shortcake - again, all the paraphernalia including a themed 5th birthday party where I had a professional S/S cake, a play telephone, themed plastic makeup bag etc.

The Hugga-Bunch - had all the books and loved the movie with little Gennie's quest to save her grandmother

Herself the Elf - I had the cassette tape stories that came with follow along books

Lovely Lady Locks - I used to play with the dolls all the time

Care Bears - loved the movies(The first one with the evil book and the Wonderland one) and had my own Cheer bear

The Last Unicorn - one of my favourite movies when I was little

She-Ra - I had all the action figures, the Crystal palace and my fave movie was the one where she finds out she and He-Man are brother and sister (my bro and I still have this VHS tape)

The Snorks - my favourite before school cartoon

T bag and T shirt - couldn't get enough of this show

Gummi Bears - my favourite after school show

Secret Keepers - I had the big swan for all my treasures

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Sunday...

We did this:

walked around the Burleigh Heads markets

I ate this:

homemade mango and passionfruit frozen pop - I scoffed mine too fast to photograph

and this:

yummmmmm Grill'd - I had the Simon Says and a serve of their delicious chips

We saw this:

X-Men First Class... then when we got home S downloaded Movie Number 3 for me as I realised I hadn't seen it ... still like 1,2 and the newest better than 3.

All in all, a great Sunday spent with my husband.

Partying princess style

We woke to the most gorgeous of clear Winter days on Saturday ... and thank goodness for that because Saturday was baby S' 2nd birthday and God forbid it should be anything but perfect for our favourite little princess.

So M and I departed bright and early from my house on Saturday morning (8:45 is bright and early in winter in my books) to collect the balloon arrangements ordered by C for the park celebrations. We picked them up with minimal fuss (although the owner is a very rude lady in my book), manage to stuff them in to my car ... luckily S was meeting us at the party because between me, M and the balloons, there was not an inch of room to be had in my trusty hatchback.

We arrived at the party venue with plenty of time to spare before the little guests started appearing and helped C finalise a few minor things - she already had the party down pat with food out, decorations up, the jumping castle ready to go and baby S deckedout as the cutest little Cinderella.

The day flew by and we had the most wonderful time playing in the sunshine, jumping in the castle (or boing boing as baby S says), a visit from Mickey Mouse, playing Bocce with C's father in law and his friend (M and I teamed up with them and laughed at our hopeless aim), eating party food... fairybread anyone? or roast meats, crunchy viennas and Croatian potato salad for the grown ups and playing with (read running after) all the little munchkins.

My S also had a fantastic time making a beeline for our friend N's tiny little 4 month old whom he commandeered for at least an hour after he played with the birthday girl - he can't wait to have children of our own <3

There were a lot of children in attendance, my parents even bought their friends' 1 year old twins ... adorable aren't they?

Everyone left happy and exhausted... C and I were asleep on the lounge that night by 9pm watching Sleeping Beauty to finish baby S' princess day.

The bucket list

Several years ago, my sister and I were watching one of those 20 to 1 shows hosted by Bert Newton and based on the content (something greatest Aussie events), we were inspired to create our very own bucket list and these are a few items we came up with:

Attend the Beer Can Regatta in the Northern Territory... it just looks so delightfully bogan and 'Aussie' - google 'beer can regatta'... would be a funny funny trip

Attend the Melbourne Cup

Participate in the City to Surf marathon in Sydney - so friends in Sydney told us though that the best way to do it is to turn it into a pub crawl lol

Visit Gallipoli foran ANZAC service (we figured it mightbe more achievable for us than the Kokoda trail

Attend a Big Day Out in Sydney - they just look like more fun than the GC one

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on yours?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A disappointment

Prior to leaving for Sydney, my excitement to visit Zara was palpable. I told anyone and everyone how much fun I was going to have shopping here and warned S to be prepared for a serious shopping adventure with me.

Sadly, it was not to be.

S gamely joined me on my shopping adventure the Wednesday afternoon after we checked in to our hotel and we set off for Pitt St. S at least knew a little bit about Zara having been given a crash course education on our honeymoon in Osaka when I dragged through every level of the 4 storey store (maybe it was 5 stories?) so he understood why this was serious business.

We got to the store and I drank the site in before stepping inside (I should note, there were no lines and it wasn't crazy busy as I was led to believe it would although it was a Wednesday afternoon around 2/3pm). I wandered around in a daze picking pieces up and checking prices.

I am sad to say, I was entirely disappointed! Nothing jumped out at me, the prices weren't comparable with their US and Japan stores in my opinion and I left feeling very flat. I had such high hopes but will probably stick to shopping in their stores Overseas now.

Edit to add: I popped back on Saturday with my friends hoping that maybe I was just overwhelmed on the Wednesday but no, nothing was appealing and the girls were very unimpressed overall (they hadn't heard of Zara previously). I should also note, there were no lines to get instore but the registers and changerooms were backed up for miles).

The Wives

This is a pic of me, N and B outside St Andrews church in Manly where the wedding was held last Friday. Don't you just love B's dusky pink coat? Such a great colour on her and it was a bargain at $150 from $400 - Myer ... Charlie Brown if you want one. (I wore navy Alannah Hill 'I love you' frock, black ruffled wool Victoria's Secret coat and nude patent Tony Bianco pumps).

N and B are both wives of S' best friends' T and S. There are 3 S' in our 'group' and they all stand for the same name - confusing much? Try being with all three of them together and trying to get your husband's attention or having 3 of the same name in your bridal party including the groom... I half expected 3 'I Do's'.

Pretty much the whole 'group' have been friends since their early high school years and they are all about 5 years older than me but the nice thing is, N and B and I have hit it off from day one. We have become friends inour own right and often plan our own catchups much to the delight of our husbands - lets face it, it makes it easy for everyone (and much more enjoyable) when the women are genuine friends, not just 'the wives' of the group.

One of the most fun things about Sydney, was getting to hang out with these girls. N has two little ones and B has one little one and one on the way so it was lovely to spend time with them without having all the munchkins underfoot (the small people stayed home with their grandparents).

Us ladies enjoyed a particularly wonderful day on the Saturday (as did the boys), beginning with meeting up at Circular Quay, heading to Sydney Westfield (Baby Gap and Zara beckoned) then back to The Rocks to meet our boys who were enjoying a local pub crawl.

We spent the afternoon drifting between the Belgium Beer Cafe, the Argyle, Harts Bar and finally the Bavarian Bier Cafe. I tried a variety of boutique beers and was especially taken with the Kriek beer (cherry flavoured) at the Belgium Cafe and the Limonata Weissbier at the Bavarian Cafe.

From our pub crawl we headed to ChinaTown figuring it would be the most fun for our big group (we also had my parents' in law and a friend in tow) and also something different for those in the group who hadn't been before.

We found a popular restaurant very quickly down the main street (forgot the name but it is 2 storey and on the pub side). Given our big group, they kindly opened the upstairs dining room for us and we had it all to ourselves (a very good thing given how lively and loud the boys were by now).

We all ordered a main to share on the lazy susan (side note: I don't think its particularly fair to all the Susan's out there to have a product like this share their name - why can't it be the lazy deb or the lazy shaun?) and we ended up having a mountain of food (including 3 garlic dishes - chicken, beef and prawns) but surprisingly finished every morsel - maybe not so surprising given there were 9 of us by this stage including 5 men.

The food was tasty although not served steaming hot and the service was good but it was hard to order drink refills and the like. The company more than made up for it though and I absolutely cherish the day we all spent together and the memories we made.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One of my all time favourite pics...

This photo of my sister andI always makes me laugh.

It is taken in Old London Town in Perth when we went exploring with our mother for the day just after winning our Surf Life Saving Australian gold medal.

We were both on such a high, having a great time together and we always joke that I am the weakling out of the two of us and this is her proving it by trying to pick me up but we were laughing too hard.

Love my little sis <3

Only 3 more sleeps...

till baby S' 2nd birthday! I can't believe how quickly two years has gone since she came into our lives.

So as per a previous post, we were planning to get her a Disney musical night light... but this is easier said than done. I am yet to find the specific one we are after and time is ticking down.

We are now forced to consider other options and may get a happsak from Pillow Talk:

So cute and such a great practical idea that I'm sure her mum would love (because trust me, the last thing little miss S needs is more toys).

Speakingof presents for baby S, I snapped these gorgeous little jeweled ballet flats up for her in Sydney at Baby Gap. They will look perfect with her birthday costume (she is going as Cinderella).

It was kind of a case of 'if you can't beat them, join them.'... I was shopping in Sydney with friends, B and N (who both have babies) and they were in heaven browsing Baby Gap which meant I had no choice but to also :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday in Double Bay

My Sydney posts are going to be all over the place so please consider yourself warned.

After a huge Saturday night (ending around 3am), we slept late on Sunday and packed our friend G off to catch his flight back to the Coast... I think he was still drunk at the airport...oops. Anyway, given that it was a stunning day (think crystal clear sunny skies), we decided to head out to Double Bay to have brunch with one of my best friends, B, who lives in the area.

Again, we made use of public transport and negotiated the bus line... although I may have missed our stop and added 500m to our walk but moving forward, we met B on the main street and he led us down a side street to a locals cafe... Indigo. I am in love and would seriously move to Sydney for that place. B was discussing relocating closer to the City over brunch and S and I talked him out of it thank goodness - I would try to move closer to this place, not further!

The food was delicious with varied options and it was such a relaxed laidback (and super popular) venue. S had the angus steak open sandwich and I had the open Rueben sandwich with pastrami, provolone, homemade coleslaw on rye while B had 2 poached eggs(with the brightest yolks ever) with a side of bacon & avocado. I couldn't believe how fresh & delish it all was - B assures me it is all organic, locally sourced etc.

After brunch, B headed home to change for our afternoon adventure (read champagne at the Opera Bar) so S and I strolled down to the waterfront and found ourselves sitting in the sunshine of the Yacht Clublooking at the dazzling harbour view sipping Sav Blanc.

I was a little sad when we left Double Bay around 2pm to catch a ferry to Watson's Bay and then back to Circular Quay for drinks at the Opera Bar but more on that later.

Honestly, it was just a spectacular day spent with two of my favourite people (S and B).

The Matriarch

One of the most important things on my To Do list while in Sydney was to visit with my Great Aunty (actually my father's aunt).

My grandmother (her sister), passed away when I was in primary school and since then, my Great Aunty (GA) has been considered the family Matriarch - she is the oldest surviving relative we have.

Anyway, she is almost 90, lives alone in a harbourside apartment and trips around the city on public transport to shop and have her hair done... she is my idol! She is totally with it, dresses very well (S particularly commented on this) and looks fantastic in my opinion.

It was importantto take the time to see her while we were down there as unfortunately she is fighting a second battle with cancer and undergoing chemo so there is a fair chance I may miss seeing her againif I didn't take the opportunity so we arranged to meet GA on Thursday for lunch in Rozelle.

We bused out over the ANZAC bridge and were there in no time with an hour to kill and everything a bitmiserable given it was a blustery rainy day. We settled into a coffee shop with the paper to amuse ourselves and then headed down to the agreed meeting spot to find GA there, in an eye catching lime green wool coat and matching scarf - doesn't she look great?

We had a lovely long lunch at theRosebud cafe (and a couple of sav blancs) wile we caught up on each others' news and looked through S and my wedding proof book.

Both S and I had such a wonderful time with GA and were so glad we made the effort to catch up. I cant wait to see her again!

A quick check in

So I have heaps to fill you in about from our mini getaway to Sydney (we had a truly fabulous time) but will have to save it for tonight to blog about.

In the meantime, here are the ABC's of me (borrowed from sobeaucoup's blog)... if you haven't noticed, I love surveys and lists etc..

A. Age: 29... just a few month's off the ripe old big 3 0!
B. Bed size: King... we can't even handle a queen anymore
C. Chore you hate: washing the floor and definitely ironing
D. Day: Saturdays of course
E. Essential start to my day: a steaming hot shower... and The Today Show
F. Favourite colour: Navy or charcoal at the moment
G. Gold or silver: Yellow gold only (with some platinum on my e-ring)
H. Height: short... like 166-168cm - S call's me Titch
I. Instrument: I used to take piano and cello lessons but I'm pretty sure I couldn't play either now
J. Job Title: Operations Manager - sounds important lol
K. Kids: None at this moment but definitely planning on 2
L. Live: the GC
M. Mum’s name: Marcia... but she always cops Marsha
N. Nickname: family call me Nae, dad calls me Naisy, S calls me Titch and BB (think bossy here), friends call me Ren or Fe.
O. Overnight hospital stays: none to date
Q. Quote from a movie: I really can't think of just one... I laughed so hard at the Get Him to the Greek 'Jeffrey' explanation
R. Right or left handed: Right unless I am eating then I somehow reverse my cutlery... its really weird and my sis does it too
S. Siblings: A sis and 2 brothers plus 2 sis in laws and a brother in law - christmas is expensive in our house
T. Time you wake up: at the last possible moment ... I am not a morning person
U. Underwear: lovable or fine lines
V. Vegetables you dislike: Most of them bar pumpkin
W. What makes you run late: Oversleeping, finding something to wear, ironing (because I'm not good at it), getting engrossed in The Today Show
X. X-rays you’ve had: Elbow, foot, various fingers
Y. Yummy food you make: Creamy bacon and chicken risotto
Z. Zoo: I dragged S to one in Osaka... it was disappointing and sad

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lounge suit

Amazingly, I did not realise how many people did not know the dress code for lounge suit. To explain, S and I, along with several other friends have been invited to a wedding in Sydney this week and the dress code is lounge suit.

So today the topic came up between a mixed group of male and females, 'What are you wearing?'

When I explained that the dress code was lounge suit, everyone looked blank. I was quite shocked as I kind of figured that 'lounge suit' was pretty straight forward and a common enough term. Apparently not.

After I provided my guide for lounge suit, everyone just replied 'well why can't they just say formal?'

We ended up googling the term (people trust google more than any other source, particularly if it a previously unknown term I have found in my experience) and after completing a criteria (time of day, temperature, occasion, for him/her), acceptable 'lounge suit' attire for him was a dark suit for winter with tie. Pretty straight forward. Lounge suit is essentially 3rd on the list of dress codes after very formal (white tie etc) and formal.

I'm just jealous that S gets to rug up in a suit for the wedding while I have to freeze it out in a dress.

Everyone's Darling

Now I know every blog is following the Duchess of Cambridge avidly... let's face it, if blogging had twitter style 'trending', she'd be leading the headlines day in day out.
I can't give an explanation for anyone else's fascination but for me its quite simple. She's stunning, poised, stylish and approachable (not in the real sense given the Scotland Yard guards and all), but in a down to earth way, her fashion and her genuine personality make her a appear very much as the girl-next-door.

These are just a few of her looks from this weekend and as we can yet again see, she never gets it wrong and in the manner of almost everyone's favourite blogger, FF, Kate is not afraid to mix her high end designer clobber with high street duds:

Kate Middleton and Prince William on the balcony (Pic:AP)

As a lover and collector of coats (despite living on the GC with tropical climates), I could not be more in love with this one... stunning, simple, so very feminine and ladylike.

Nothing wrong with recycling a look that works... 2009 to 2011, its still a good look.

Kate and Pippa Middleton arrive at the wedding of Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen (Pic: Enigma)

Kate easily outshines Pippa by recycling a simple dress from 4 years ago at the wedding of her matchmaker (rumour has it, Sam was responsible for helping to reunite the now Duke & Duchess