Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the great exchange.

getting married is quite the magnet for fantastic gifts. ben and i have been lucky to be inundated with some really stunning engagement presents, all of which we are very, very grateful for. even more so, we are grateful when we receive something that perhaps is not in our taste and are encouraged by the giver to exchange, exchange, exchange!

and so we did...

the other day ben and i returned said gift to it's home and picked up some alternative gifts instead. i'm in love with my new spice rack. check it out...

the little draws make a fantastic keep-safe for all my favourite flavours...

if this looks like something you could love too, visit minimax and get your very own. no exchange necessary :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

shameless plug.

about two weeks ago - i know, i know, i'm late with the updates - we went to the mt. buller beer festival. i suppose when one thinks of mt. buller they think skiing, snow, hot chocolate. well change that perception damn it! get on up there, where the views are stunning and the people are warm and get involved in some of the summer activities. they have mountain bike riding, farmers markets in mansfield and for the first time ever, they had the mt. buller beer festival.

my lovely ben and his band 'wintermen' (name is a working title - feel free to leave other suggetions) were asked to perform. it was a glorious summers day, the view was never ending and the beer was very, very cold. of course i went along as support (as did maggie) and cheered the boys on. i was joined by the girlfriends of the other band members and miss brooke satchwell of australian tv fame (lovely lass btw) we spent the afternoon clapping, singing and visiting beer stands one at a time. needless to say we were very drunk. here are some pictures of what i like to describe as one very comfortable weekend spent with people i hardly even know! funny what happens when you put yourself out there...

ben and joe chilling between sets. note brooke in the background. what fun she was!

ladies and gentlemen...i now give you.....'Wintermen' (again, working title)

good crowd. good food. good beer. good golly get down there next year people!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

part two: the wedding

ahhh, the madness continues...

so, next on the agenda was choosing a bridesmaid. for me it had nothing to do with 'who' to chose but rather whether or not to have one. in our fantasy wedding things are kept nice and small. nothing crazy. no 'six bridesmaids for seven horny bucksmen' (pity the drunken sod who misses out)

anywho, we had to make a decision. would we don our wedding with puffy dresses and cravats? of course mum had something to say about that also:

'i feel that it should be one of your sisters', she said. i rolled my eyes on the other side of the phone. not because i wouldn't love to have one of my beautiful sisters but rather because i was being guilted into doing something i might not otherwise have done.

'well what about melissa?' i asked. melissa - best friend - was her bridesmaid - would give life for. 'i might want to ask her?'

there was silence at the other end of the phone. i knew she was considering the best way of handling this one. she knew mel was important to me. she had to play her cards very cleverly if she was going to win this battle. it was all or nothing. final set. nothing left. scrounging for something she noted:

'well if it's not one of your sisters, it should be your brother'.

yes, you read that right. my brother in a plunging neckline, lace shoes and and 3 inches of makeup would make for one very funny wedding indeed. she was thinking about the entertainment on the night. i had to give her that!

as you can imagine i didn't go with my brother. as lovely as he might have been in satin. i didn't even go with one of my sisters - there are three of them, all to special and lovely in their own way to choose between. i didn't even go with mel (she will have a beautiful newborn baby to attend to at my wedding - assuming she doesn't go into labour during it). instead i chose my niece, siobhan. she has been an important part of my life for 14 (nearly 15) years now. she will make a wonderful flower girl and a beautiful friend on the day. ben won't be having a best man. it will just be siobhan. and us of course. standing up in front of the world and getting ourselves hitched...

Monday, January 7, 2008

part one: the wedding.

Question: is it possible to remain sane when arranging a wedding?

i know, i know. that could easily be viewed as the dumbest question to appear on this here blog. i'm gonna ask it anyway. can you really hang onto your sanity when the fabric on the back of a shoe is the sort of topic that gets a good hour and half air time? I mean really...what was i thinking? did i really expect that ben and i would sneak down to the mornington pennisula, scurry up to a man who looked somewhat like a priest, nod 'i do' kiss happily and then race each other to the bar? I must have had my head in a bonbonaire magazine for the last 3 months!

as the days towards our special day fly by like a rickety italian train loaded with hairy backpackers and even hairier locals, i am starting to feel my quiet calm slipping away. on saturday i ventured over to mums house armed with invites that were harder to extract from ben that oil is from the americans. today was a dedicated 'wedding day' when invites were written out, dresses were reexamined, invite lists were finalised. it started off well, all 'those would be gorgeous flowers' and 'i think you're mad not to wear your grandmothers pearls' when i dropped a question that could sink a thousand ships with the weight of it's response.

'ok mum' i asked, 'who would you like to ask to our wedding'.

she stopped for a moment, put down the blue satin ribbon and starred at me. i don't think she quiet believed i'd asked her. her eyes flicked for a moment, registering each word and then glazed over as her mind worked to piece together her response.

*mum is irish, please imagine irish accent*

'well now, i have to say that i would definitely, no doubt about it, have to invite blah and blah because they have always been so good to me and your father. oh and mrs. whats-her-face from god-knows-where because remember the time she did that thing with the thing? well i just have to invite her! and listen, i'm not being greedy, but i MUST bring ba ba ba and la la la because when their son's dog got married to the next door neighbours fence we were invited'.

this colourful, delightful mix of names went on for some time, as my stomach got weaker and weaker. where had my small 70 group of family and friends gone? where had our 'everyone there MUST know the both of us and our relationship well' rule gone? where had our 'ideal wedding' vision gone?

Apparently they high tailed it with my sanity in a car that traveled down some dusty road, ran out of gas, sputtered, chugged, and back fired so fiercely it sounded like a drunk man farting. *sigh*

Thursday, January 3, 2008

rockin' moroccan.

this christmas i MUST have been good. all my favourite things were sitting under the tree - which was nothing short of surprising considering i swore quite a bit towards the back end of last year! someone must love me flaws an' all.

from ben i got this wonderful tagine dish.

*ta dah!* dont ya just love it? there will be plenty o yummy goodies warmed slowly in that baby. do you think it's weird that my fiance who LOVES food got me the one thing that could increase he admiration? before you think ill of him, i actually asked for this. instructional sticker included! look at how much work needs to go into getting your tagine into right cooking order. that's a good days work i tells ya!

to go along with my newest kitchen item, ben's wonderful aunty Mary bought us a fabulously fabulous turkish recipe book. forget suva's. this book is rich with dishes i have never even heard of, ingredents that i am sure i wouldn't find in elsternwick coles and photos so stunning it makes your passport itch.

stay tuned. i will be sure to post my taste bud favourites as i trial these two great gifts in our batty old kitchen. what a lucky girl...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

and then i saw a tiger snake.

i'm back! and man is it good to be home. there's only so much fly swatting and eel dodging a girl can do. i am pleased to say that our little camping trip away was a huge success. we had bagged a Ray's Tent City voucher from ben's wonderful parents for christmas and spent boxing day loading the car with new buys that would get us through our bush experience.

our destination? glenelg river on the south australian/victoria border. this river flows through several sleepy towns before gushing out into the open arms of the sea. it's waters are full of platypus, eels, brim and other nasties i tried not to think about. getting a camp spot there is no easy feat. you need to put your name and suburb into a ballot and they pluck at random lucky, lucky people. tim (bens good mate) had his name in the lottery. we didn't get it. but, with persistence, tim befriended the entire glenelg council organisation and they 'squeezed us in'. (yeah timmy!)

there was about 14 of us. four boats. no pets and plenty o beer. the group was a good mix. couples, singles, even a father and son combination. we spent the days either fishing, reading or swimming in the river. bar opened at about 12pm every day and there was more than one afternoon siesta let me tell you! at night we shared the chore of cooking for the group. considering that we were so remote I would say we ate very well. chicken curry, pork casserole, spaghetti bolognese, roast (three meats) on the campfire and chili con carne. not bad huh?

it was not until the final moment of our stay there, after ben and I had packed the car and had our final swim that i heard a 'rustle' in the bushes that caught my attention. as you do...i turned my head to see what exactly was doing the electric bugaloo in the dense native bush. all i happened to take in was the orange and black stripes on a somewhat slippery skin. it was in that sheer moment that i cottoned-on to the fact I was looking at the tiger snake. with a quick 'oh jesus it's a snake' (said in a irish accent for some reason. perhaps when i get scarred i revert back automatically to my childhood accent and crave the protective arms of my parents. either way i know this time it wasn't the Guinness making me all 'potatoes, potatoes, potatoes'. nope, it was the fear of being jabbed on the leg by a snake no bigger than my arm and the fact that i might actually have to revisit my first aid training and haul ass to the nearest hospital - which wouldn't actually be near) i shut my eyes and walked briskly up the path blocking out Ben's comments of 'wow, its beautiful' 'hows about that' 'em, have another look' and jumped into the car so quickly you'd think I'd just robbed a bank. *sigh* i was alive. thank god. here to tell the tale....and of course, show you some pictures.....

maggie was clearly unimpressed that we were shoving fishing lines into the back of the car and not her. (she stayed with her uncle george for 6 days - thanks georgie!)

our home away from home. sleeps six and completely water proof (dont really wanna test that one though!)