Saturday, July 18, 2015

Last weekend we spent three nights down in Dunsborough. It was the last weekend of school holidays and Todd was able to get a bit of time off to head down.
We drove down on the Thursday afternoon and stopped in at the Bussleton Jetty for memories sake ... it's nearly a year ago Todd surprised the hell out of me and got down on one knee on the rickety little jetty. We snapped the sunset and then headed straight to the Pour House. It was so nice to sit there for a few hours and watch the cricket with a glass of wine and a delicious steak! They had an open fire cranking and there were lots of people just settling in for the evening.

Shell and Anthony, Todd's cousin's, were away in Exmouth for the holidays so we were able to stay at their place. A lovely little house along Wildwood Road, surrounded by gums and a beautiful dam which was so full! We climbed into bed and slept really well.

We woke up to a foggy and rainy morning. Two chooks were out pottering around, the others were still in their coop. Todd worked out the TV so we were able to check the news with a cup of tea and some fruit before rugging up and heading out the door.

It's been so great getting to go down south with the wedding planning ... There's just something about it .... even in winter there's a charm. Everything was so green and the lillies are out in full bloom. I know they're a crazy noxious weed that are taking over but I think they're beautiful!!
We were meeting the celebrant in Busselton so we made our way there and ordered a coffee. We were a bit early and she was running late so we used the time to talk about the ceremony and what kind of feeling we want it to have.

I've felt so lucky through this whole process that we've had similar things in mind ... we both agreed fairly easily on our declaration of intent, ring exchange and vows wording. It's been really lovely getting to organise just how we want the ceremony to go. Our celebrant has been so easy going and flexible and open to our ideas. I want it to really reflect us as a couple and our friends and family to be involved as much as possible.

After Laurissa left we had a call from the dog breeder telling us there's been a mistake and we're actually getting a little boy puppy!
Well! Initially I was quite confused and annoyed ... but after speaking to the breeder it all is okay. Neither of us could imagine not getting a puppy next week after we've been waiting so long.
We wanted a girl just in the hope she'd be a little smaller and more timid but after speaking with the breeder she actually feels the boys make better pets. She said there was a runt of the little who was a little boy, quite a bit smaller and very cuddly. My heart melted!! We said if she could send us a photo of him then we'd take him.  He arrives Monday afternoon!

Famished, we went and found a sushi place and had some lunch before picked up a donut and heading to see Jack, Todd's grandad.
He's just been moved south to Busselton aged care, from Three Springs.
I always love visiting Jack and this time it just felt so special to be there with him and visit.
He's 93 now and starting to get a bit confused, but the quick wit is still so alive.
As we passed a nurse she said "remember me Jack? I'm the nurse who helped you in the spa yesterday?" ... to which Jack replied "yep. You tried to bloody drown me"

There's a lot of Todd in Jack ... and I love watching the two of them chat and laugh about things. Todd's developed his humour I think ... and his positivity.
After a few hours with Jack we drove into town for some snacks and then back home to Shell and Anthonys. At the very back of the chicken coop there was about 15 eggs! I carefully crawled into the back and gathered them up .. some were still warm!
We boiled a few up and ate them with salt and pepper and some other yummy things.
Todd cranked the fire up and at 6pm the cricket was on!
What a match ... Steve Smith got his 200 ... and then Australia took 5 wickets very quickly! We stayed up until after midnight watching it, reading books and magazines and stoking the fire.

The next morning was incredibly foggy. It was really beautiful as the mist sat just above the dam. We rugged up again and headed out to Hay Shed for breakfast and to speak to Ayesha. On the way there was this paddock of huge dairy cows. We stopped on the side of the road for a few photos and then carried on our way.
We had the most delicious shakshuka and flat bread. They made me some gluten and dairy free flat bread which was just so nice!

We then sat with Ayesha, had a coffee and started nutting out the last pieces of the puzzle. Food menu, drinks, tables, lighting,  flowers ....
Ayesha has been so incredibly easy to work with. So many laughs and just feeling like she's really on the same page as us. It's always so much fun going down there and catching up with her.
We got some wine for the journey home and a few more things on our to - do list and we headed down to check out the area where the ceremony is going to happen.

We've been hoping it's a Marri tree ... but after further inspection Todd was pretty sure it wasn't, and now confirmed by Cam it's definitely not!
It's beautiful though ... and huge. It leans to one side and then opens up to a grassed area, bordered by vines. The grass was so long and wet ... and there was a light drizzle ... so it definitely will look different in November!

We headed back then via Canal Rocks .... Smiths Beach ... Meelup Beach ....and Bunker Bay ...
Looking for places where we will get photos taken. Our photos are happening before the ceremony so the light will be very bright. We wanted to make sure that after the ceremony we could just hang out with the guests and enjoy their company, hence we're having photos before.
Come November our photographer Eric will scoot around with us and help pick the locations .. but we wanted to have a few in mind.

There was still a few hours of sun so we drove to Eagle Bay brewery and sat outside with a drink and some food. It was so busy ... lots of kids playing ... and people celebrating birthdays ... and a big blue sky had broken through which was lovely.

We went into town to get some steaks for dinner and then headed home for another night of cricket and fire time!

The next morning after packing up we made our way into town to try a new coffee shop (delicious!), pick up some of Todd's favourite Kenyan beans to take home and then made our way into Busselton to spend some more time with Jack.

My bookclub has been reading the Narrow Road to the North West which talks of the POWs ...and story very similar to Jack's. Mum had asked me to chat to have about a few things which she was curious about so we sat and spent some time interviewing Jack. It was really nice to record his voice and hear him talk. He was pretty sprightly after having had some lunch so it was a really good catch up. He always says ....
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone..

We said bye to Jack and made our way on to Cam and Betty's place just in Secret Harbour. It was great to stop in and see them, give them some coffee beans and have a cup of tea and a chat.

We made it back to Perth in the dark, very content and claiming it to be a "red letter weekend"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

All the images from the Europe blog posts are a combination from Todd's camera and my camera.


Last day!

After a bit of a lay in (nice) we hatched a plan. Breaky at home and then walked to Cotume one more time for a coffee. So glad we did ... sat up at the bar and enjoyed a filter coffee and delicious carrot cake. We spoke about how it was going to be strange not having coffee and spending the days together when we get back home.
We then made our way over to the Musee D'Orsay. Mum and Dad had really highly recommended this museum and I was very keen to see the Monet's.
It's quite an amazing building and so nice that it's not too big. You can wander around and not feel too overwhelmed by how much art there is to see. My favourites were the Segal and Monet paintings. After a few hours and some gift shopping for postcards we headed to a crepe place not too far away that we'd heard did gluten free crepes. They were really delicious ... mine had this amazing potato dauphinoise, chives, bacon and tomato. They were gluten free too .. which was a bonus. My previous diet of gluten and dairy free went out the window for this trip (for which I paid the price for later ...) but in that moment of enjoying food on the trip I'm going to say it was worth it ...
 It seemed everyone then moseyed home for a pit stop. Nerida and I decided to hike it over to Galleries la Fayette - an incredible department store. I still had a few presents left to buy and I was keen to see their Diptyque products. It was a pretty amazing department store and I'm so glad Nez and I got to enjoy it together. The roof was a large dome ... golden and intricate. We found the Diptyque counter and I was in heaven smelling the different candles and perfumes. I got a candle for Brodie and the kind man behind the counter gave us some samples ... One I loved was the geranium perfume (which I've since bought and put away for our wedding ... a nice memory of the trip!)
Nez and I found the food level and spent ages looking at all of the different sweets and teas and chocolates. I always love the food section when travelling.

On our way home we also walked past the opera building which was interesting to see. We were so parched and so I bought water from the man I swore I'd never buy water from .. on the corner always yelling ... "water one euro water one euro". They'd annoyed me so much all over Europe everywhere we went but in this moment I giggled with Nerida that they couldn't have been more perfectly placed!! One euro felt like a bargain!

We made it home for showers ... Brad had been out getting a trendy Paris haircut so we were eagerly awaiting his arrival home. Off we went for our last meal together. Brad and Nez and Ash and Jo were continuing on to England but for the six of us, this was the end of the trip.

We wound up at the same restaurant they'd eaten at the night before (when Todd and I were in La Marais). It was such a great place to end the trip at. A small menu, a very friendly waiter and a corner table tucked away. He poured us shots of a potent liquor ... we couldn't work out the translation but we think it was some sort of schnapps??

Home to pack up and we set Todd's camera up for a shot of the six of us! These three shots are the only shots of us together as a group for the whole trip but I love them!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We woke up with the alarm this morning and got ready to head out to Versailles.  Trying to find breakfast before 10am is so difficult in Europe! Not something I enjoyed about the trip and we more than often ate at home so we didn't venture out starving. This morning we finally found a place and shared an omlette and a sweet crepe. Brad and Nerida met us not that long after and we had a coffee before going to the train station.

The train took a little while but it was nice to sit and catch up on jotting down what we'd been doing the last few days. I knew the blogging thing would take me ages to catch up on so I wanted to make sure we had a bit of a list ready to go in the phone when it did come time to type this up.

Once we were out at Versaille we chose to focus on the gardens rather than the palace. Not sure we made the right decision ... but ultimately we knew we couldn't do both and the palace had massive lines already. We hopped in the line for a golf buggy and off we raced ... at the pace of a snail. 
The gardens are massive ... very geometrical and very green. There were not as many flowers as I was expecting and the white gravel was back ... the French love their white gravel!
We found a beautiful garden hiding in amongst the paths but you couldn't sit or walk on the grass .... very different to Australia and Britain where it's encouraged!
After the train ride home we came up to see some impressive break dancing buskers! We all went home for a nap which was really nice. Jo and Ash had been to visit Monet's garden which sounded and looked incredible. They were buzzing from their day and sat around with a cup of tea and filled us in.

Todd and I ventured off on our own for the evening, really keen to see Le Marais district.
We walked across the river and then past the Centre Pompidou which Mum and Dad had recommended we go see. Le Marais was buzzing and there were so many people out and enjoying the evening. We stopped at a library bar ... an old shop with wooden floorboards and books floor to ceiling. There was a small, curved bar at the front which had a few people perched up against it. We found and spot and ordered a drink. Hilariously the waitress said, ok!, and then walked out the door. She didn't come back for a little while and when she did she had our drinks! We worked out later than it was the little sister bar of a bigger restaurant up the road. My first gin fizz and it was delicious!

From there we walked to a falafel place that had been really well recommended. When we walked up we quickly worked out there was a huge line and a friendly man hustling us all into line and taking orders. As we got closer it just got better. The rate they were making these felafel was crazy! Todd took some video and we had a laugh with the man making them. Pitta pocked, purple cabbage, onion, cucumber, eggplant, spicy sauce and balls of delicious felafel. We sat on a stoop and shovelled it in surrounded by loads of other people doing the same. 

We walked to another bar afterwards and ordered a final drink ... 
A really flamboyant man was sitting next to us and obviously knew the owner of the bar well. He was dancing and singing along while reading the newspaper and drinking shots. 
A fun night!