Congratulations James & Kim!

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, we had the honour of witnessing our two wonderful friends get married.

James, so handsome in his navy blue suit, joined by Kim so breathtaking in her elegant dress, and together surrounded by their wonderful wedding party.

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Words really can’t describe what a beautiful ceremony it was, especially with such love and emotion so visible and felt by everyone present. The exchange of vows touched everyone’s heart and certainly brought tears of happiness to my eyes.

In a brief moment during the ceremony, a few raindrops were felt but quickly swept away by sunshine as if they had no business being there. I don’t know if everyone noticed, but a beautiful rainbow flew across the sky shortly after the ceremony ended. Additional beauty on this special day!

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While the bride, groom, and wedding photo went off to take photos, we nibbled and drank, catching up with one another. And of course, took some photos…

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A sweet moment on returning from their photo shoot, dancing under the skies.

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Gift table, I loved the cage for cards!

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Simple and elegant.

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Every single person’s speech during dinner… made me teary. It was really a privilege to be present and listen to their two families and friends speak about their love for James & Kim. It’s an indescribable feeling but I hope to be blessed with such company and love on my wedding day.

Cutting of the cake before heading to the dance floor!

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About to begin their first dance…

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Lovely!

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They even had a photo booth, how great is that?

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Unfortunately, Michael and I had to excuse ourselves early as Mike had an early flight to Canada the following morning. The night was just getting started and I’m sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves before sending James and Kim off with sparklers in the night.

Thank you again for letting us be a part of your special day… we love you and we wish you both all the happiness in the world! May this be your most exciting life journey yet… ❤

Our great experience at Club Med Bali

May 10-16, 2014

(Note: This is going to be a LONG post, but I hope you enjoy!)

It seems that every vacation Michael and I have been on, they have always been very “go go go!” Fast paced and always on the move to soak in as much as possible, in as little time as possible. In addition, they have never been “all inclusive” in any sense because well… it was always cheaper to do our own thing. Finally, there came a time earlier this year that we thought we deserved (and hopefully would enjoy) a more relaxing, slow-paced vacation. It would be even better, if it was an all inclusive vacation so we would have even less to worry about. A friend suggested looking into Club Med and incidentally, there were great sales happening online.

And that, is how we came to spend our one week vacation at Club Med Bali, an island and province of Indonesia. It really didn’t take too much convincing.

I should probably with the most obvious possible question? What exactly is Club Med? 

Club Méditerranée or Club Med, is considered the original ‘all inclusive resort’. A French corporation of vacation resorts found all over the world including Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Maldives, the Caribbean, Europe, South America and Africa. Each resort is called a village, with a resort manager (chef de village) and Club Med staff from all over the world who are called ‘Gentils Organisateurs’ or GOs. Each village is also supported by local staff known as Gentils Employés (GEs). And of course, cannot forget the guests, or ‘Gentils Membres’ (GMs)!

There are a few aspects of Club Med that make it quite special compared to other resorts:

1) The ‘all inclusive package‘ includes not only transportation to/from airport, lodging, food, drinks and shows, but also activities and the use of sports facilities. These include tennis, golf, snorkelling, kayaking, etc. activities that are normally not included and could cost quite a bit. And did I mention you can get lessons in everything as well? Indeed!

2) GOs are quite multi-talented. They are not only your lifeguards, bartenders, sports instructors, etc. during the day, but impressive performers during each evening’s show. More importantly, GOs and GMs play, dine, drink, and dance together every day and every night. They are not just staff members but your friends and family during your stay at the village. This social aspect is a big reason why people chose Club Med again and again.

3) Crazy Signs – unique to Club Med and a ton of fun for all ages. A communal dance that is standardised across Club Med resorts all over the world and led by the GOs at different times of the day and night. At one point during your stay, you will definitely learn the moves and groove along! I don’t have videos of Crazy Signs, but you can check out YouTube videos HERE and HERE.

Great overview of Club Med Bali HERE on YouTube 🙂

Now that you know a little more about Club Med (in case you didnt, like us not too long ago!) let me share our experience!

Flew with Jetstar on the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner!

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Best memories of the flight? Electronic dimming windows, automatic flush and faucet in the toilets, and the best touch response I’ve had with in flight entertainment.

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How tired we look after 3 consecutive days of exams and packing last minute!

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Safely landed at Ngurah Rai International Airport where we were met and driven to Club Med Bali located on Nusa Dua Beach.

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Welcomed by the lovely GO Melanie for an orientation over refreshing drinks and a cold minty towel!

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Club Med bracelets to identify you as GMs

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Heading towards the rooms…

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So peaceful

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We stayed in room 3021, close to all the facilities yet far enough not to be kept awake by night life. The rooms are definitely dated, standard but spacious (see in video below) with daily servicing. Bottled water is provided and you are encouraged to fill them up at water stations found around the village during the day when you’re out and about… or you can drop by the bar 😉 Bathrooms were decent, but the showers have seen better days – they could definitely use a good scrub down or facelift! There is central air conditioning so you don’t have control over the thermostat, although the A/C was refreshing and good temperature to sleep at night, we prefer it to be a few degrees colder. Other than that, no complaints really! We were only ever in our room to change during the day and sleep during the night, if you’re at Club Med, you really shouldn’t be spending more time than that in your room anyway!

First priority, food! There are two restaurants – Agung Buffet Restaurant and Batur ‘a la carte’ Restaurant. They operate at different meal hours, giving you a chance to get food pretty much whenever you want. Since we had missed the buffet lunch hours, we went to Batur Restaurant for a bite to eat. It is a smaller restaurant but lovely.

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Yay, we made it!

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For our first meals, grilled fish for me, satay for Michael. Food was good, but we enjoyed the rest of our meals at Agung Buffet Restaurant for the huge variety of choices.

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One of 4 dining areas within Agung Restaurant.

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And another, this one is for adults only so much quieter without kids around.

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Overall, the food was amazing. There are food themes every night, such as: Ocean buffet, Sit Down Cocktail, Indonesian, Long Time Favourites, etc. There were areas of the buffet that consistently offered a selection of Indonesian, Italian, and Korean cuisines. A large selection of fresh breads, cheeses, and salads were available at every meal. There was always something new and tasty to try. If you are foodies like we are, or enjoy trying new foods, then meals at Agung restaurant are delightful.

Don’t judge us in this photo right after what I just wrote. 😉 The fries were really good, and we just wanted a few before dessert… haha!

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Having breakfast in another area of the restaurant. Breakfast buffets offered mostly the same selection every day but I can’t complain because I happily got fat on the fresh and deliciously buttery croissants.

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Lots of chilling by the bar having drinks

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Pools pools pools! Where most of our very important relaxation happened 😛

There is the large main pool with generous numbers of lounge chairs and cabanas/gazebos.

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Can do this all day long…

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GEs are constantly checking in on you to see if you want any beverages, why yes please!

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There is also the new Zen Pool – an adult only pool that serves only non-alcoholic beverages. Seems befitting for a pool that is supposed to be as quiet as possible. We loved the swinging lounges/beds at this pool.

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Heading out towards the beach

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Unfortunately not the nicest beach, nor the softest sand, but still offered its own version of beauty!

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Dip in the Indian Ocean!

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Mount Agung, active volcano, in the distance. We will climb you next time!

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Gorgeous weather every day

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Enjoying the local beer

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Night view walking along the beach with constant security patrol

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Lots of daily fitness classes including: yoga stretching, power walking, abs and thighs, aqua gym, pool game, dance fitness, and more!

Fun in the sun! Quite enjoyed aqua gym – water aerobics. Representing Australia doing the kangaroo race 😛

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Sports! Unfortunately, high waves kept us away from the water sports (kayaking, windsurfing, snorkelling) so I don’t have photos of that to share… maybe next time!

Land sports!

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We enjoyed a lot of golf (6-hole course), sometimes multiple times a day.

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Also tennis outdoors!

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Indoor facilities include a gym for badminton, basketball, etc. as well as 2 squash courts

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Beware of mosquitos! They do regular evening mosquito fogging to keep them at bay but I still got bit numerous times. Worth it to bring repellant!

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Archery was a ton of fun and something I was actually decent at.

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And I even went on the trapeze! My certificate for Knee Hang Catch – you’ll have to watch the video below to see! Thanks (L to R) Danny, Jack, and Ali! And Kevin who’s not in this photo.

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As you have probably noticed in the previous photos, the village grounds are kept immaculate and are maintained on a daily basis by the lovely GEs.

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Performance theatre, with evening shows every day

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This night’s performance theme: Halloween, it was really good!

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I know there are a lot of photos, but they really don’t capture the full beauty and ambiance of Club Med Bali. Please watch my video below to see more!

There are a few things regarding Club Med that we didn’t personally experience that is worth mentioning:

1) Petit/Mini/Kids/Junior Club (2-18yo). What makes Club Med a fantastic holiday choice for families is children/youth oriented programs run by GOs. Gives children a chance to hang out with those their age and make new friends, stay engaged with the numerous activities and schedules, and give parents a chance for some relaxation and adult time. You can always hear the enthusiasm and energy when they’re nearby and just know the kids were having a ball. We will definitely go on Club Med vacations when we have a family, no doubt about it.

2) Night life. Because Michael and I wanted to spend as much time alone together as possible, we skipped out on the night life. However, it always looked liked a blast with dancing and hanging out with the GOs and other GMs. If we had been on this vacation with friends, things would’ve turned out very differently 😛

3) Mandara Spa within Club Med Bali. We didn’t try the services but the prices are comparable to Australian prices. Speaking with other GMs, there are nice spa/massage options if you are interested off the village grounds for much cheaper.

4) Excursions. Trips to see what Bali has to offer are available through the Discovery Centre or independently outside the village. We were happy to spend our entire trip having fun and relaxing in the village so actually did not get to see Bali attractions. We don’t regret it, but will definitely do it next time we’re back!

We had an amazing first Club Med experience in Bali. Thank you so much to all the wonderful GOs and GEs we met during our stay and made our trip extraordinaire! Can’t name you all but merci beaucoup! This holiday has definitely hooked us in and we will be looking forward to future vacations at other Club Med villages!

Until next time!

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DHAL: May 24, 2014

Highlights:

  • I finished editing my video of our trip to Bali! My only problem now is not being to share it due to our insanely slow upload speeds. Hopefully soon!
  • Art date with Yoni! He finished painting THIS PIECE, based on The Persistence of Memory by Slavador Dali – pretty huh? I worked on the same piece I’ve been trying to complete for years now – Chaos of Cancer. Slowly getting there!

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  • I made a no-bake cheesecake for the first time! Peanut butter cheesecake with Wunderbar bits and topped with chocolate ganache. It was alright, way too rich and wouldn’t make it like that again.

Lowlights:

  • Being woken up at 4:30am this morning by a freakish grating sound coming from my ceiling fan. I couldn’t tell what was causing the noise and too scared to try and fix it half asleep.
  • I ordered a dress a while ago, this one to be exact. From Ebay seller chsislady.

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I finally had the chance to pick it up from the post office yesterday and opened it today, to find this mess.

Note the obvious asymmetrical neckline

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And the poor construction of the bow

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Not to mention the uneven and ugly seams all around the dress.

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You bet I’m going to ask for a refund!

And finally, I don’t know if this should be a highlight or lowlight… but check out the ‘fancy’ garment bag the dress came in. I have no clue what it’s trying to say, do you?

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Ethio-African cuisine at Yeshi Buna

May 09, 2014

To celebrate finishing exams, Christine suggested we have dinner at Yeshi Buna. She had been very recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. And I, having never tasted Ethiopian food before, didn’t hesitate before saying yes.

Brightly decorated, the restaurant’s atmosphere was immediately inviting and the owner (?) warmly welcomed us.

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After sitting down, he asked if we had ever been to the restaurant before, to which Michael and I replied that it was our first visit. He handed us not only the menu, but also a page to explain terms that may be unfamiliar to those new to Ethio-African cuisine.

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Words like ‘injera’ the tiniest cereal in the world that is ground and fermented for days to make the flat, slightly sour, bubbly ‘bread’ that is a staple of many dishes.

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It didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted the Meat & Vegetarian Combination Dish ($48 for 3 people).

We were pretty hungry, and pretty excited. When the dish came, we were even shown how to eat with our hands and use pieces of the injera to scoop

The combo dish contained the following: Ye Beg Alicha, Doro Wott, Tibs Wott, Minchet Abish, Gomen Be Siga, Atikilt Wott, Kik Alicha, Fassolia, Missir Wott, and mixed salad. (Wott = hot stew, Alicha = mild stew, Tibs = sautéed meat)

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Looks are deceiving but there was quite a bit of food and we were all struggling to polish off the plate towards the end. But we did it!

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My first time experiencing Ethiopian food was great! Something I’d certainly have again. Well-priced, delicious food with great service and wonderful ambiance – I would highly recommend Yeshi Buna!

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Yeshi Buna Ethio African on Urbanspoon