Like I said, shenanigans! The day after Steph's birthday, we woke up bright and early and headed to AQWA - the Aquarium of WA. When we were kids, this was the most magical place ever... and we still love it. There's just something so wonderful about sea life, it's something I've always considered to be intriguing and beautiful. After getting our dose of colourful fish (and after petting this super cute little manta ray that was clambering for attention in the touch pool!) we headed out to Hillarys Boat Harbour for lunch and a spot of shopping. Then, like the true women we are, my Mum and sisters and I drove out to Whitfords for more shopping! As you can see in the photo above, many hats were tried on. It was a really fun, happy day spent with my family! And in the evening I went out to Eat Greek with some friends for Kirstin's birthday, where we stuffed ourselves on the Greek buffet and watched the waiters break plates and dance in a ring of fire on the floor. Amazing!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Hahaha. So anyway, Steph chose to have a family dinner on the night of her birthday, with a day of varying shenanigans the following day (post to come!) Our friends Jo, Sean and Helen all joined us too, which was a lot of fun. We grew up with Sean and Helen and enjoyed many dinners and outings together. Now we're all grown up, we don't get to see too much of each other, so for all of us to be available for Steph's birthday was really nice! Meanwhile, I can't believe that my youngest sister is 20 years old! Whaaaat...???
Hmmm, Dog looks kinda like he's been super-imposed on this picture after my funky colour editing! So anyway, this is Dog. I know, you've met him before but he doesn't get featured on my blog anywhere near as often as Cupcake does! Dog's a little more camera-shy, and also a little less of an attention seeker - usually when Cupcake's doing the silly things that find me pulling out my iPhone camera, Dog's asleep on his usual spot on the couch, head hanging over the armrest like he's been knocked unconscious by Jackie Chan. I'd take photos of this, but we don't actually have a light-fitting in that room and it's just too dark to photograph anything! So anyway, Dog. I never pictured myself owning a blue heeler, but I love it! I love having him around because he is beautiful and gentle and loving, and he makes me feel incredibly safe when I'm home alone at night. Dog inhales his food and just the other night swallowed a chicken drumstick whole (for those not in-the-know, cooked bones are super dangerous, especially chicken drumsticks). When he wants a cuddle, he'll flop down right on top of us in a smother-hold. He goes into full attack-dog mode when faced with brooms, vacuum cleaners and hammers. He loves drinking water, and when it's dinner time he spins around in circles in sheer excitement. I love this guy to bits, and I'm loving learning his little quirks more and more each day.
Cherries! Sweet, sweet cherries! This is not a sight I'm accustomed to stumbling upon on my bi-weekly grocery shop for the office at the moment. At the time this picture was taken, we were in the middle of Winter. My eyebrows wiggled as I computed the fact that cherries = Summer. In fact, cherries are one of three things that I look forward to about Summer (the other two things are Christmas and BBQs, for the record). In general, I hate Summer but these red little jewels are a bit of an incentive for me to buckle up and sweat out the months between December - April (we have loooong Summers here in Perth). I was pretty delighted to find that I could have my Winter and my cherries all at the same time this year! They're imported from the USA, but some of the best things in life are (such as Hollywood movies, and my husband). Yum! Cherries!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Gah! I can't believe how behind I am here (as I have been consistently, lately...) I've finally decided to suck it up, do some late-ish night photo editing and let you know exactly what we got up to in Margaret River a couple of weeks ago...
We stayed at Silver Springs Cottages and I'd highly recommend it... This is the big cosy bed that greeted us as we walked in the door post-3 hour drive!
In terms of what we did and saw...
We found beef cheeks at Margaret River IGA... my (now former) favourite cut of beef. I had no idea it looked this awful...! My stomach churns just looking at it- now yours can too!
I stared at pretty cakes at Provedore... yeah, I basically bought chermoula seasoning and porcini mushroom salt just so that I could get close enough to the counter to photograph these ;)
Chris got a little bit perv-y with this black 'beauty' - which was for sale!
We had our socks rocked off with beef & Guinness pies and beer-battered fries at Cowaramup Brewery (funky bar stool eh?)
We grabbed some pizza at Good Fellas... I went with the Indian pizza, and Chris went with the Mexican.
Did I mention the pretty chocolates at the Chocolate Factory? Hmmm!
And as we drove out of Margaret River for home, she waved us goodbye with a pretty rainbow.
It was quite a wonderful holiday, and we came back home with a MASSIVE bounty of gourmet foods and wines. Hahhhh. Bliss. It was also really fun being able to bring our boys with us on holiday... we got a massive kick out of watching them exploring and racing through the bushland which surrounded our cottage.
Soooo can we go back now?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A couple of months ago I posted this. And not so long after posting it I noticed a friend's Facebook post, a shout-out letting people know that Catch of the Day had a really excellent deal on a basic Pro-Tools pack, with recording software and a midi keyboard. Pro-Tools juuuuust happens to be the recording software that I learnt how to use when I did my Cert II in Electronic Music! So that day at 7.30am, when I should have been grabbing breakfast and getting ready for work, I was scrambling around for my credit card and purchasing this great package! Well... Day 247 of my 365 project happens to be the day that I came into work to discover that my beloved new keyboard and software had been delivered!!!! I haven't set it up yet, but I'm just so excited... I've been dreaming about purchasing Pro Tools since I started studying that Certificate a few years ago. Yay!
I don't credit myself on beautiful presentation in my cooking, but occasionally things end up looking quite amazing! And really, how could a mess of luscious red strawberries not look gorgeous?? On this Sunday night we were having Chris's family over for dinner. I cooked a yummy chicken cacciatore with an antipasto flat bread, and that chocolate ganache tart topped with strawberries. It was a really lovely way to spend a Sunday night. There's something special about spending Sunday nights with people, and it's starting to become my favourite night for entertaining!
Tehehe. Quite the T-shirt, no? We found it at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory in the Swan Valley. Oh what were we doing there, you ask? Just being the most giving sister and brother-in-law in the world, of course!! My sister Steph's birthday was coming up, so being the generous people we are, we draaaagged ourselves away from weekend chores and forced ourselves to go out to the Chocolate Factory to buy her a present! Steph is a little bit in love with a particular dessert sauce which they sell there, so we picked that up and figured while we were there, we might as well buy ourselves some chocolatey treats and sit down for hot chocolates and scones. But you know, we were thinking birthday thoughts the entire time. Definitely.
I *love* clouds. Taking this picture was actually really difficult and, um, maaaaaybe also COUGHillegalCOUGH. I may or may not have taken it while I was driving home on the freeway on a Friday after work, in peak traffic. We were bumper to bumper, the car wasn't moving when I took it but... yeah. Anyway! To me this picture portrays the perfect Friday evening... clouds rolling across the sky and bringing with them the promise of a cosy, rainy evening at home. There are some things in life that will give me an instant buzz, and the thought of snuggling up on the couch with my man and my dogs, watching TV and listening to the rain pattering outside is one of those things! Have I mentioned lately how much I looooove Winter? Heh.
Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!! I DREAM of welcoming a sexy Kitchen Aid Mixer into my kitchen someday. And at almost $800 a pop... it's a pretty rich dream. Ha. But on a Thursday night, when Chris was spending some man-time at JB Hifi and dreaming about computers, I couldn't resist having a perv on these magnificant machines at Kitchen Warehouse. Oh, I love them. But do you want to know an embarrassing secret? I yearn for a Kitchen Aid Mixer for two kind of amateur, lame reasons:
1. They come in stunning colours
2. Everybody else wants one.
Yep, I'm nothing if not a victim of consumerism and good marketing. Ask me how much research I've done on these babies (zilch). Ask me how many online reviews I've read about them (none at all). And ask me how many of my friends have a Kitchen Aid Mixer and have given me their firm recommendation (again, zero). Basically my dream is based on some of the most shallow desires in the book! But I soooo don't care. I still want one really badly!
This semester at uni, I had to make a sacrifice. Because I'm doing a day of prac placement each week, I've only taken on one class instead of the four that would make me full-time. This means I'm only at uni for 2 hours each week, first thing on a Monday morning. So what's the sacrifice? That would be the beautiful and wonderful George's Kebabs! George's has an insane following of kebab-hungry Curtin students (and former students!) and I was first introduced to it by my sister Hannah when she was studying Nursing at Curtin, and I would come and meet her for lunch sometimes. My order never changes - I always get a chip roll with chicken salt, cheese and lettuce. I can't possibly explain the amazing-ness of this simple meal. Anyway, this is all irrelevant because I'm now on a George's detox for this semester, thanks to my timetable. Luckily I had to attend a prac seminar the week before uni started which ended at lunch time, and I managed to indulge one last time. It was actually the best George's I've ever eaten - and made by George himself - and there could not have been a more perfect send-off for me. Sniff.
I'm here to admit that I spent $6 on a small punnet of strawberries. Cringe. I just got so excited at the grocery store when I saw that the strawberries were huge and juicy looking, and had started dropping in price slightly. My regard for a reasonable price to pay for strawberries went out the window, and I snagged that over-priced little punnet essentially to be slightly disappointed. Early season strawberries are obviously not the way to go. They were fine, but not amazing, and definitely not $6 amazing! Oh well. They look pretty sexy all plated up with that decadent Gu Chocolate Pudding. I hope you're drooling! This was a somewhat over-the-top lunch dessert I had at work on a Tuesday. Sometimes you just need to do things like this.
Black carrots! I mean... black carrots! Can you see them there? I have never seen black carrots in my life, but on an indulgent trip to Tony Ale (my favourite grocery store in the WORLD) I spotted these and had to take them home for experimentation's sake! Here's what I learnt about black carrots that night:
1. When you cut them open, they go from black, to a pretty purple middle layer, to a crisp white core
2. They taste exactly like orange carrots
3. According to one of my sisters, they are credited as being good for prostate cancer (?)
So there you go. Beautiful, shiny black carrots. Great in a stir-fry, FYI.
Awwwww. How cute are my magnets? (And do you see me in my cool purple pyjamas reflected in the fridge there? Tehehe). My Mum is the reason that I love crafts. Not only did she foster my creative gene and gave me countless crafts and mediums to play around and experiment with as a kid, she's also big on craft herself! Lately she's been making sweet little cross-stitched magnets as gifts for friends and family (and keeping a few favourites for herself too!) So far I've acquired the cute bird house and, at family dinner recently, the pretty watering can to start my collection off (how great is that button??) My fridge definitely has room for a few more! *wink wink*
So, uhhh... great bottle, right? You know, sometimes a pretty and slightly different bottle of Agrum is the highlight of my day. It's sad when that pretty bottle is the highlight of a Saturday, as this one was. But oh well. This bottle represents my lunch break on a Saturday that I spent completing a First Aid course in order to do a prac placement in a child care centre this semester. It was an important thing to attend, and I kinda left it to the last minute so a Saturday 9-4 course was all I could find. Such is life! I'm now qualified in Basic First Aid, which is great, but hopefully something I'll never need to use in life.
Ha! While I can't say with pride that this is one of the better Old Booth photos I've created, it still makes me giggle! This was supposed to be a picture of Amy and her insane little rocket of a puppy Amos... but in all the excitement of the evening, I totally forgot to take said picture. Boo. Still, a badly taken Old Booth is better than nothing! Amy and I have started a brand new tradition of watching 1990s sitcoms (specifically The Nanny, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch) on a Friday night. This photo was taken on our first ever (and so far, only!) Sabrina night! We cuddled up with Amos on Amy's living room floor, and ate loads of avocado dip and chocolate while we reminisced about our pre-teen years, and how fun it would be to point our finger at someone and turn them into a pineapple!! Ha! Amy is a lot of fun, and I love her a lot. Smile.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Boo-yah! When, on a little bit of a whim, I decided to enroll back in my course at uni a few months ago... I was nervous. In fact I dreaded returning to study. The first eight units of my degree were a real fight for me. I hated almost every moment of the experience... the stress of assignments, the hassle of getting to class, the ridiculous amount of money spent on text books. I started my degree coming off full-time office work and I missed my full-time salary and the fact that my only commitment there was 8 hours a day - the evenings and weekends were mine. I burnt out of uni within my first six months of marriage in 2009, and part of me was convinced that I would never return to it. At the start of this year, I gained a place to study Education Assistance at the local Tafe, but on a whim shortly after finding this out, I visited the Curtin Uni website, signed in on my old student account and enrolled in full-time classes. Just like that (a surprisingly easy process!) I was a uni student again. Now I'm not saying last semester was all smooth-sailing and joy. There was stress and frustration and more than one 4.30am bedtime when it was assignment crunch-time. But overall it felt so much better than it ever had previously. Which is why it was so exciting and rewarding to get my results for my first semester back!!!!! As you can see, there's a bit of a range in overall marks but I passed it all, and getting that page of results was just a great moment for me. It's nice to know that at least one part of my degree was a bit of a bright spot!
Ha. I love the 90s music video feel of this photo... I can totally see this shot in a moody Savage Garden video clip! So this is Chris and me on our first (and so far, only) monthly goal-setting date! It's a new thing we'll hopefully do each month, where we basically make sure to go out, bring our new To-Do List notebook with us, and set goals. We filled the page in minutes - with things like home improvement projects and cleaning goals, but also fun things. We want to try a Japanese buffet. We want to cook a stir-fry every week. We want to pick up our gym attendance. Big things, little things... our minds were full of the things we want to achieve. But writing things on a list, and setting out to achieve them are two very different experiences and this month has shown that we definitely need to work on our goal-achieving skills!!!
Oh, and the dinner date venue was Mash Brewery in Rockingham. It was... OK. The stuffed mushrooms we ordered as appetisers were definitely the delicious highlight of the meal, the beer-battered chips were yummyyy and my steak sandwich was pretty darn tasty too! But Chris's steak sucked socks. Hence the somewhat moody beer-swig in the photo above!
Welcome to Day 2 of the epic Bestie Weekend!!! We woke up, cooked the ugliest 'road kill' pancakes ever, cleaned up and hit the road pretty early on for a day of fun in Fremantle. We stopped for burgers at Missy Moos for lunch, which turned out to be one of the cutest, funnest little burger places I've ever eaten at! The walls are covered with colourful origami pigs and pictures that kids have drawn, and instead of table numbers they give you little toys. Ours was Kermit, and he reallyyyyy wanted my burger (as you can see!!) I think Kat considered fighting him for it, until her burger showed up. Whew! After burgers we did the very important coffee stop at Hush, and then hit up Woolworths for some mad-ass groceries. Aaaand then we took Hatti home. Which is when things got a little... weird.
Then we drove off into the sunset to our lonely husbands.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Occasionally Kat, Hatti and I take time out from our super (super) busy lives and have a bestie weekend away! Our latest one was an amazing night in Binningup, thanks to one of Hatti's work friends. See that house? See that cute driveway? See those ecstatic girls? Needless to say, we had a lot of fun together! The day started with breakfast at our very favourite breakfast place, Crumpet. We road-tripped to Mandurah for groceries and then headed straight to the house for a cruisey afternoon of watching movies, getting cultured by Jersey Shore and eating copious amounts of chocolate and popcorn. Like pre-teens at a slumber party, basically. Our dinner tradition for weekends away is tacos, which we wolfed down and then topped off with X-Men II and Nigella Lawson's Choco-hoto-pots. It was one of the greatest Saturdays I've had in a long time! Oh... and I also got to impress them with my sick fire-lighting skills!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Bless! How cute are dogs when they're not shredding your legs and barking aimlessly at you!? Haha. I'm just kidding. I love my dogs unconditionally, but I can appreciate the peace and quiet of my sleeping babies as much as the next devoted pet owner. A few Fridays ago (man I'm behiiiiiind on this project!!!!) we had dinner with my family - dogs and all! Cupcake loves to play with their dog Leon for hours, but Dog is pretty content to flop down on their big red couch and sleep in big blocks. His sleeping positions can be kind of hilarious. Seriously, pet ownership rocks for moments like this!
Mmmm... a cozy sight! I've mentioned pretty recently that I've been working hard at crocheting, with the aim to eventually have a beautiful rainbow-coloured blanket made of granny squares. I'm working with lots of different colours all at once, and a few weeks ago I was looking forward to a weekend away with the besties... what better reason could I have to head to Spotlight on a rainy Thursday night and expand my colour collection? When I arrived, the pleasure of the experience was even greater when I discovered that my favourite wool brand was on sale! Yay. Unfortunately I was a bit of a late-comer on this sale, so some colours were sold out, but as you can see above I still scored a decent haul! Sigh. How freaking great is colour?!
I love making lists! Whether it's listing goals, tasks, dreams... anything! I love writing a list, I love reading back over my list, and I love ticking items off a list too! I'm trying to push myself into a productive season - I think Winter comforts and indulgences have taken a toll on my productivity, and I'm trying to break that lazy cycle.
So one fun little shopping trip later will tell you something that I enjoy almost as much as I enjoy lists... journals! I love the promise of a new journal, imagining the things that will get written in it - I think I have about 20,000 journals on the go at any given time! The picture above is a little handful of new journals ear-marked for various list-making purposes - actually, one of them was a fun little gift for Kirstin as part of our monthly business planning meetings! Fun. Lists and journals are fun.