Wedding Rehearsal

May 13, 2016

It was less of a rehearsal and more of a family meet and greet.

Thanks to Atong, we had a perfect location to host our wedding rehearsal. We were pretty sure that we wanted an informal get together and the rental space in her apartment complex was a great venue to a meet and mingle.

Also a big thank you to Michael’s parents, Gregory and Caroline, for their generosity towards dinner.

Although this was not the first time our families were meeting each other, not everyone had met before so it was a nice opportunity to get to know each other.

My bridesmaids were absolutely amazing with their help in making sure the night went smoothly. This even included buying and carrying cases of water and juice from a few blocks away. Believe it or not, we remembered to buy the alcohol but not the water!

My brother also brought names tags and markers, which I loved! Everyone had the chance to learn people’s names and their relationship to the bride and groom. I would highly recommend this idea to anyone with a huge family like mine!

For dinner, we ordered shawarma from… you know it… Shawarma Palace, the best place in town. Always a favourite for everyone! And for dessert, my sister made delicious lemon and s’mores squares, I made brownies.

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We took the opportunity to thank Michael’s parents, my mom and my grandparents for their love and support. We saved our gifts for the bridal party for getting ready the following day.

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Selfies took place… a lot of selfies.

Our 3 MCs: Elvin (and soon to be wife Jenn), Vinh and Amin

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3 of the 4 groomsmen! Bill, Matt, and Dan (4th is Michael’s brother Matt)

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My brother Andy and Kien’s (cousin) partner Samme

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Andy and cousins Janet and Justin

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With some of my family, including my grandparents, aunts and uncles!

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Photo with the immediate Brown family!

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Michael’s Aunt Patsy and her husband Uncle Dan!

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My sister Jenni and Michael

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Janet, Jenni and her partner Edward

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Being themselves πŸ˜›

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Justin… always ruining our photos!

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As you can probably tell by now, my family is… special πŸ˜‰

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My grandparents, mum and aunt

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Cousins

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We even had props! Although mostly forgot to use them!

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(Note Samme’s name tag… see? Useful!)

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Like mothers like daughters

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Cousin love

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My mum!

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Somehow… Michael and I ended the night without a single photo together πŸ˜› Thank you again to all our family and friends who took the time to attend, and for all their love ❀

It was hard to believe we were getting married the following day! After cleaning up, Michael and I then headed over to Four Points by Sheraton in Gatineau and called it a night. We even did a bit of much needed first dance practicing πŸ˜‰ We would highly recommend getting away from everyone and spending the night before the wedding with just your partner – to have quality time together and reflect on exciting times to come!

Wedding Manicure

May 12, 2016

This was a photo taken after the wedding but my sister, mum and I got wedding manicures together!

(During this time, May 11-12th, Michael was in Montreal with his mates having an awesome bachelor party)

I loved my colour with an accent nail! (Excuse my dinky pinky)

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Mother’s Day in Canada

May 08, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day!

We celebrated with the entire family, which is something I’ve missed while in Australia!

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Menu of the day consisted of egg noodles and lobster – delicious! (Courtesy of chef Uncles)

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Yay, all 3 of us girls home in Ottawa at the same time!

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My grandparents still looking great at 80+ years old!

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The tradition conditions with all of us presenting my grandmother with cards and gifts – from the offspring of her oldest to youngest children! My brother was working and unfortunately couldn’t make it.

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Family photos!

My grandparents and their 5 children

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With their 2 girls

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And with us!

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My aunt and mom!

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G-pa is wiped after dealing with all of us πŸ˜‰ Love how he goes for the hammock despite a perfectly fine bed

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SEE ALL PHOTOS HERE

And of course, some late night selfies with our very own wonderful mother!

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None of us would be here today without her sacrifice, love, and dedication – we love you! ❀

Bachelorette

May 07, 2016

To be honest, I didn’t think I would have a bachelorette (hen’s day/night). After all, we didn’t have an engagement party or a bridal shower. Not to mention I wasn’t even in the country until 2 weeks prior to the wedding! However, my amazing sister (maid of honour) and bridesmaids made sure to give me an incredibly special day.

I was told in advance that Saturday, May 7th would be my bachelorette and that it would take place over the whole day – how exciting! I had been previously asked what I would want for a bachelorette. My reply was high tea and a good meal. Definitely no need for clubbing/strippers please!

With that, my sister planned everything and presented me with this list of instructions:

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She even found a gorgeous white dress for me as I couldn’t find one in time!

Started the day with a gift from my sister – thank you so much!

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A bridal Pandora bead with bride on one side and groom on the other.

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Janet, my cousin and bridesmaid, picked us up and the adventure commenced!

First off, a beautiful high tea with my gorgeous bridesmaids at Nectar Fine Teas.

A menu consisting of fruit, soup, sandwiches, scones, desserts and chocolate. And pots of tea of course!

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In love with the china!

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As usual, lots of silliness and laughs with these girls!

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Fruit cup with jasmine tea syrup – so refreshing and not too sweet!

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Hearty legume soup sipper

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My beautiful bridesmaids!

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Check out the food – mmm! We had wasabi egg salad, smoked salmon & chevre, lemon chicken & mango chutney, and red pepper cream cheese & cucumber mini sandwiches. Also vanilla bean and cranberry-orange scones with preserves and clotted cream. Up top were dessert slices and an assortment of truffles. All the food was fantastic!

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Took a look around their shop after high tea. Nectar Fine Teas lives up to its name – such an amazing selection of teas and all the accessories you might need!

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After high tea, we got back into the car and started driving… Eventually we reached Quebec and at one point I was sure they were taking me to Omega Park (which I love!) which was when they made me shut my eyes and keep it a surprise.

The first place they stopped at advised that there would be a wait of a few hours… so we bailed (I still had no idea what was going on). We then we pulled over to a candle making shop – I was so excited! Only to be told it was actually a joke and we got back on the road. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. We finally arrived at a backup location. Still keeping my eyes shut, the girls guided me to the entrance.

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We were at Amerispa! For the rest of the afternoon we enjoyed pools, spas, saunas, silence, relaxation, laughs, and good conversation. Sorry, no photos!

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Afterwards, we all freshened up and changed into our outfits for the evening. Colour coordination was involved – me in white and everyone else in black!

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Julia always comes prepared… even with theme appropriate snacks!

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What a surprise! So many lovely ladies joined us for dinner! My friends as well as all my female cousins – thank you so much guys!

Atong, Julia, Tina (who I later found out was pregnant, yay!) and Jenn

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My now very grown up cousins – Lilian, Flora, Christine and Kim

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My cousin Janet and sister Jenni

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Had such a fantastic time catching up with everyone and I think we all enjoyed the delicious (and pretty reasonable priced) food at Fauna Food + Bar

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Have a look at some of the tasty dishes we enjoyed!

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Duck with kimchi fried rice

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Rabbit with squid ink pasta

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My sister, who is amazing, even went as far as getting us a beautiful congratulatory cake!

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Many of those sitting around us offered cheers of congratulations and lots of smiles – this girl really felt the love!

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The restaurant were happy to plate out our cake for an additional $3.50 a person. For the beautiful plating with icecream, cookie, and fruit caviar garnish, we all agreed it was definitely worth it!

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I even got presents! Thank you so much cousins for the lovely candle and selection of teas!

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A heartfelt thank you to all you gorgeous ladies for making me feel so special and loved to soon before my big day! Love you all!

Exactly one week until the wedding!

Post engagement shoot dinner at MUST

May 06, 2016

Still feeling romantic after our engagement photo shoot with Kim Ing and taking advantage of the fact that we looked pretty spiffy – Michael and I ended the busy day with a dinner date.

We didn’t have a particular place in mind but knew there would be plenty of good dinner options around Byward Market.

A short walk later, we decided on MUST – Kitchen & Wine Bar. Warmly greeted, we were shown to a table upstairs. Given it was Friday evening, we were happy they had room without making reservations! The restaurant atmosphere was quite cosy – dimly lit with cobblestone walls and live music.

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Unfortunately, I can no longer remember our drinks selection but I certainly enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc option at the time and Michael was very happy with his tasting flight of reds! Thank you to the waiter for his suggestions!

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Luckily, we are both fans of sharing tapas dishes when the option is available at restaurants – gives us a chance to try multiple different options!

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This was the menu available at the time – the current one can be found HERE

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We had the 3 selections Charcuterie Platter which came with crostinis paired with a selection of terrine, pate and cured meats ($18). All were delicious, especially the terrine which paired very nicely with the house pickles and fruit jelly!

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Pretty happy and excited! Not just about date night, but soon getting married!

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My handsome soon to be husband!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night: Bison tartare with gerkin, anchovy and lime aioli, stilton, crispy capers, and crushed walnuts served with grilled baguette ($18). We love tartare but find it’s often a one dimensional dish in terms of texture – not this one! Loved the contrasting textures – soft tender bison with the added crunch of the other elements of the dish. We would’ve never thought of adding blue cheese but the pungent saltiness really worked beautifully!

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Seared foie gras with sweet confit persimmon, ash rind goats brie, crispy onion, and maple siracha served with baguette ($18). Extremely generous portion for a tapas dish – flavours worked well to create a very rich and indulgent plate! I wouldn’t say it was served with baguette though, especially given the previous dish – they were crostinis – and certainly not enough for the portion size!

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Baked brie and halloumi – phyllo wrapped baked brie, black currant cream, brown butter seared halloumi, honey caramel, and pistachios served with crostinis ($17). We absolutely love halloumi and baked brie… so couldn’t resist ordering this dish. It was rich, sweet and salty, how could you possibly go wrong with a cheese dish like this? Both halloumi and brie are mild in flavour and we found the added flavours of berries and nuts did not over power the cheese – yum!

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The crostinis were appearing across many dishes – we wished there was a little more variety to the vessels upon which many of these delicious elements were being served on! The presentation was lovely though.

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The serving size of MUST’s tapas dishes are definitely more generous than we are used to. I’m glad we only ordered so many dishes as they were not only delicious, but very rich and filling. No room for dessert!

We had a great time. Food was delicious and reasonably priced, nice live music, great service, good location, and lovely atmosphere! Would definitely recommend trying it out and we look forward to the opportunity to go back!

Must Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More wedding meetings

May 06, 2016

Today was another busy wedding prep day! We started our morning meeting with our wedding videographer – KB Production – which I will write a dedicated post to later.

Then a pit stop at our favourite bakery downtown in Byward Market – Moulin de Provence for a morning bite! Always too many options to choose from!

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Have you ever had a black forest danish? Yep, I assure you it is as good as it looks!

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Quick bathroom break before heading to our cake tasting! A perfect message in my toilet stall given our upcoming wedding!

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View of the Byward Market Square from above! Not too busy as it was still quite early.

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CLICK HERE to read about our cake tasting!

After finalising our cake details, we headed to my hair trial! I will also write a dedicated post for my hair and make up. But to give you an idea, she charged $60 for a trial and spent hours on my hair and doing 3 completely different hair styles. We were quite happy with her skill level and Michael even asked if she would be comfortable giving him a wedding haircut – which she did to his absolute liking!

The timing of our hair cut/style was perfect as we were having our engagement photo shoot that evening – couldn’t have planned it better!

Wedding Cake Tasting

May 06, 2016

Through a Facebook wedding group, I found the one who would make our wedding cake!

Irina Shainski of Sweet Song Cakes has made beautiful and delicious cakes. It was incredibly easy to communicate with her via email from Australia and she provided reasonable quotes and drafts for our cake based on what we wanted.

You can visit her website HERE and her Facebook page HERE to see what she has to offer.

You can also contact her via the details below for more information:

ishainski@gmail.com
(613) 290-0349

We only had to send her a $50 deposit to secure our date. She assured us that the only thing she needed to know well in advance were the colours and designs of flowers we wanted on our cake so she could make them. The final design and flavours of the cake we could finalise last minute when we finally met her a week before the wedding for the tasting (with fingers crossed)!

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Irina invited us over to her house for the tasting of our 3 pre-selected cake flavours:

  • Carrot
  • Chocolate orange
  • Red velvet
  • Paired with 3 icings: cream cheese, vanilla, chocolate

We liked all 3 flavours, with carrot being our favourite. She encouraged us to go ahead and select all three flavours if we enjoyed them, so we did (cream cheese with both red velvet and carrot)! There were plenty extra so she happily packed them up for us to take home and share the tasting with family πŸ™‚

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The only negative: At the time of the tasting, the red velvet cake had been over-mixed (cake was dry with lots of large tunnels) – as an amateur baker, I knew it’s an easy mistake when you’re busy. We had faith and chose the flavour anyway – was not disappointed!

So the details were finally official! For $500, we ordered a beautiful 4 tier, 3 flavoured wedding cake to feed 120 people (not including a top tier to keep for ourselves). We only had 90-ish people at our wedding – but that meant more cake for everyone! And of course, we decided on carrot cake for our top tier!

This was the first sketch Irina provided us after our initial email communication.

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I had browsed through all the photos of cakes Irina had made and posted on her Facebook page and website, gathering ideas. The final design I chose were a medley of features from a variety of cakes she had previously made. It was especially comforting knowing that these were Irina’s own details and that for sure she could replicate the design I had in mind. For your reference, these were my inspiration cakes:

Flower colours as per this cake:

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Simpler flower placement (just roses and small flowers) like this cake:

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Elegant design of tiers like this one…

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With gold ribbon trimming and simplistic piping like this cake:

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This was the beautiful cake she delivered on our wedding day…

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Irina also made sure to confirm the venue, access roads and time of set up. She and her husband delivered the cake themselves and Irina put the finishing touches on the cake once assembled at the venue.

From feedback, all our guests enjoyed having some cake, which delighted us! We also knew in advance we would have plenty of cake (especially because dinner included dessert) and had takeaway containers ready for anyone who wanted to take some cake home as well!

We would definitely recommend Irina to anyone looking for a delicious and gorgeous cake for their special occasion! Beautiful details, easy communication and wonderful prices!

Michael and I look forward to being back in Canada in the near future to dig into the top tier we’ve saved in my mum’s freezer! Thanks again Irina!

Wedding Venue

Michael and I tossed up 2 types of venues during our wedding discussions. Below were our top picks:

  1. Beautiful, modern, all inclusive venues
    • Le Belvedere – Our initial top choice with sprawling breathtaking views of Gatineau Hills and very affordable at $139/pp. Unfortunately, with our guest list and due to its location (at least 1/2 hr from downtown Ottawa), we decided against this venue. Would definitely recommend to another bride!
    • Canadian Museum of History (previously known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization) – OUR WINNER! More information below πŸ™‚
    • Canadian Museum of Nature – multiple facility rentals to choose from with a mix of modern and old architecture and charm. Unfortunately, we never received a reply to our inquiry so eliminated by default!
    • St Elias Centre – Right by Mooney’s Bay, also all inclusive with outside caterers available
    • Canadian War Museum – We eliminated this option after visiting simply due to the ambiance (very gray and dark) – just not what we were looking for but definitely worth considering!
  2. Community halls where we can customise our own set up and food (think multi course Vietnamese food with 2 roasted pigs).

It didn’t take much research for us to decide that we would have to forego the community hall option. For a number of reasons:

  • Many halls did not have the capacity we were looking for (either too big or too small)
  • Most did not offer anything exciting in terms of architecture and potential for transformation post decoration
  • Cost of renting the hall is cheaper. But once you add the cost of hiring all the tables/chairs/linens/dinnerware, etc – it was pricey.
  • Unless you pay for additional labour, it’s a lot of manual work! And we certainly didn’t want to ask family/friends to work leading up to our wedding.
  • We would be coming home from Australia for the wedding. Time = money. The less time we spent on wedding set up, the more quality time we could spend with family and friends.
  • No community halls had cooking facilities onsite, all food would have to come pre/half-prepared and warmed up – not really what we wanted

Canadian Museum of History – Voyageurs Salon

As we would be planning a wedding in Canada from Australia – there would definitely some challenges! First up – booking a venue!

Here’s how we did it…

First step: Pick a date – May 14, 2016. We chose a spring date as it would be the earliest time to get married in beautiful Canadian weather! There was no attached significance to the date, but it also happened to be Michael’s parents’ anniversary date – so additional meaning!

Second step: Choose a venue – After hours of research online, we narrowed down our list of potential venues to the aforementioned. We were lucky to have our annual leave in March 2015 – over a year prior to our wedding date, which was lucky because we could visit the venues in person prior to committing. Be warned, book the venue as soon as you can (especially if your date is considered high season)!

Third step: Book an appointment to see the venue. Come ready with all your questions and something to take notes! Bring your phone/camera to take photos of the space because you will likely want to refer to them at a later time. This is especially true if you are visiting multiple venues! If the venue also does catering (or other services), try to set up a meeting with them at the same time. Don’t be shy – you are ultimately paying them a lot of money. If you have any negotiations or special requests you’d like to discuss, bring them up!

We dealt with a lovely lady named Roxanne at the Museum of History. She was prompt with all our email inquiries, met us in person at our meeting, took us on tour, offered advice, answered all our questions, and made sure we had the opportunity to meet with the caterer on the same day.

We fell in love with the Voyageurs Salon at the Museum of History as soon as we saw it. We also visited the Canadian Museum of War but then decided not to even bother visiting the other potential venues. Mind you, it is a cafeteria during business hours so you will have to use a bit of imagination – but Roxanne carried an iPad with photos of the venue transformed for different weddings to make it easier! (Click here to see photos) It was the perfect size for our wedding, beautiful architecture, amazing views of Ottawa and the Parliament buildings by the river, private outdoor terrace to use, very convenient location close to downtown Ottawa and nearby accommodations, cheap onsite parking, area for outdoor wedding ceremony (with rainy day back up in the upstairs Panorama Lounge available), etc. We would have to use their onsite caterer, Sodexo, but the menu was tantalizing and fit our budget.

Fourth step: Book the venue! We were sent a draft contract shortly after our meeting and after a few days of discussion, negotiations and revisions, we went ahead and booked! The venue was the first major wedding vendor we were happy to lock in well in advance!

Our favourite part about choosing this venue ($3200 at the time of booking) – was everything that was included:

  • Banquet seating for up to 160 people, including room for cocktail reception and dance
  • Set up and tear down (banquet/head/gift tables, podium, dance floor, etc)
  • Cleaning before and after
  • Food service including cocktail hour, dinner, cake, late night snack
  • Internet access
  • Projector screen
  • Security guard
  • Ambiance lighting
  • Set up for outdoor wedding ceremony
  • Private outdoor terrace
  • Museum production coordinator (who is also day of coordinator)

We also paid an additional (discounted) fee to book out the Panorama Lounge (facility upstairs) in case it was raining and we had to have our wedding ceremony indoors. By booking the room, it also meant that there would be no other wedding taking place on the same night, in the same building, and gave us access to more space for storage/getting ready/etc as needed.

After the booking, it was mostly out of sight out of mind until we were back in Canada, over 1 year later! We revisited the location on May 5, 2016 – less than 2 weeks prior to the wedding. I would suggest not leaving it this late, but unfortunately, we had no choice!

It’s great to get another perspective on what we envision and what our guests will be seeing. Here are a few photos the surrounding views:

Views of the Laurier Bridge and Parliament buildings from outside the Voyageurs Salon

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The blossom trees lining the processional walkway, which also gave us an opportunity to practice the walk for timing!

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The open space that would set up for the outdoor wedding ceremony, facing the river.

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Another view of the facilities – outdoor ceremony site right in front of the Voyageurs Salon and the Panorama Lounge upstairs

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Upstairs from the terrace above the Panorama Lounge looking down

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To the right of the Voyageurs Salon is the Grand Hall and main building of the Museum of History – impressive and stunning!

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In between the 2 buildings is a large staircase that would likely be the focus of group photos

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It was also the day we met with the caterers for our menu tasting and the museum production coordinator to confirm layout and set up for our wedding – killed many birds with one stone!

FIRST SUSHI BACK IN OTTAWA

May 4, 2016

Our second day back in Ottawa and the day my sister Jenni (maid of honour) arrives from Vancouver! We had a long list of things we wanted to eat and of course, sushi was on that list!

Family reunion lunch at 168 Sushi Buffet!

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We ate, and ate, and ate. It was not the BEST sushi, but it was still pretty darn good! Especially for Michael and I, who’ve been living in Rockhampton with absolutely no decent sushi!

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Always a fav – seaweed salad

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My brother Andy LOVES his grilled eel! If you’ve never tried, please do! It’s tasty!

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Tempura and rolls

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Edamame

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We went shopping after lunch and I thought this was worth sharing. A store called Marshalls (similar to Winners) was selling this Fendi purse/clutch… FOR $2199! 1) It was dang ugly. 2) Who in their right minds (even if filthy rich) would ever buy this?

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Anyway, a good second day back in Ottawa with family! Tomorrow begins the hectic wedding meetings!

Back in Ottawa!

May 03, 2016

You know you’re back in Canada when…

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Bagels, timbits, and Tim Horton’s coffee – who doesn’t make a pit stop as soon as your plane lands? We certainly did once we arrived in Toronto! Landed in Ottawa and was so incredibly happy to be greeted not only by my mom and brother, but also my grandparents and my Uncle 2 (Cau Hai)! Despite how late it was (midnight!) they insisted on a meal – so we ended up at Pho Ba Ga La in Chinatown!

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I’ve never been out so late with my grandparents! πŸ˜‰

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It was a good time with the family, but you know me, no Vietnamese restaurant beats homemade food and I still stand by it!

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Thank you to my wonderful family – so happy to be back in Canada!

In case you were wondering where Michael’s family was – they live in Kingston so it’s a drive to Ottawa! Since Michael was planning on staying in Ottawa for the coming couple of weeks for wedding planning, it made sense for them not to drive up but we would see them soon!

Crab a la Jin’s

April 29, 2016

Nothing better than delicious homemade food with good friends.

Actually, there is one thing better. When someone is making the food for you – thanks chef Jin!

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Jess & Jin invited us over for some pretty tasty Chinese crab dishes!

Saucy crab with noodles

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And chili crab!

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Thanks for having us over and feeding us such tastiness guys! πŸ™‚

Breakfast at Giddy Goat

April 27, 2016

I’m sure by now you are sick of my breakfast posts – but, but, that’s all we’ve been doing! At least you’ll have a few options to choose from if you’re thinking of breakfast options!

We haven’t been to the Giddy Goat Cafe & Bar since it was renovated and were pleased with the results!

Still spacious with plenty of varied seating both indoors and outdoors, good service, quick food, and an inexpensive menu to choose from.

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Mr good looking!

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Can you guess what Michael ordered? You know it! Eggs Benedict with toasted English muffin, ham, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce ($13.00).

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I quite enjoyed the Brekkie Hash – sweet potato, onion, mushroom, capsicum, topped with a poached egg, asparagus and avocado ($13.00, and vegan!).

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As you can guess from the previous photo, my avocado was gorgeous and perfect! My poached egg, however, was a little overdone 😦

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During another visit, I ordered the Rustic omelette with chorizo, onion, cherry tomatoes, grilled capsicum, eggs, parsley, and melted goats cheese with thick toast ($14.50) – yum!

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For an easy going and tasty breakfast – don’t forget to check out the Giddy Goat!

A WEDDING DRESS & OUTLOOK CAFE

April 23, 2016

Many would say I’m crazy for cutting it so close, but ONE WEEK before flying back to Canada for our wedding, I finally picked up my wedding dress! Hurray! As previously mentioned, I will be posting a wedding blog series to document our adventures of wedding planning and the big day itself!

After the final fitting and carefully packing my dress away in the car, we decided to stop for breakfast before driving 1.5hours back to Rockhampton.

We have been meaning to try The Outlook Cafe – glad we finally did! Located on the hill by Auckland Point Lookout with great views!

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Very simple set up and modest decor, with areas of seating protected from the elements.

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Can get a little stifling protected from the breeze!

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I quite enjoyed a very filling Brekky Wrap – 2 Bacon Rashers, Egg, 2 Hash Browns, Cheese, Hollandaise sauce & BBQ sauce in a tortilla ($13.90) plus a side of sweet potato chips ($3.10). Chips were crispy and sweet – really enjoyed it!

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Michael, of course, had his Eggs Benedict – English muffin with 2 poached eggs, shaved ham, and Hollandaise sauce ($18.50).

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And while Michael orders his usual flat white, I couldn’t help but get a refreshingly cold Real fruit mango smoothie ($7.50).

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Worth a visit if you’re in Gladstone! We had a great breakfast with much excitement for our upcoming trip back to Canada – getting married soon!

Degani @ Rockhampton Post Office

April 16, 2016

After a LONG night at work, Michael picked me up in the morning and took me out for a much needed meal. Our first visit to Degani at the Rockhampton Post Office – and certainly won’t be our last!

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It was 8am in the morning, but I had not had anything to eat all shift and was ravenous. Luckily, the staff were great – they didn’t blink an eye when I requested a burger and fries for breakfast – and it was also not a problem for the kitchen!

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I chose the Works Burger with hamburger patty, salad, egg, bacon, pineapple & cheese ($15.80). Everything was fresh and the burger was so big, I had to use a knife and fork to slowly hack away at it πŸ˜‰ Chips were nice as well!

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And of course… I got this. Because who doesn’t need chocolate first thing in the morning?

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Mike was much more breakfast-appropriate, having Eggs Benedict Degani Style with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, shaved ham and toast ($15.40).

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We finished everything, had a great morning catching up, and a good night’s sleep once we got home – thanks Degani! See you again in the future!

Workshop Cafe

April 12, 2016

I previously mentioned that working night shifts gave us an opportunity to enjoy many more breakfast dates!

One of the more unique places for breakfast (or anytime snack) in town is the Workshop Rockhampton Coffee & CrΓͺpe Bar on East St! I have previously mentioned East St Markets at The Workshop, which is also definitely worth checking out!

The Tokyo-styled cafe is partnered with Coffee Roasters and serve their signature Samurai Blend. Apparently, the coffee is always good. Food wise – a delicious selection of sweet and savory crepes! They also serve galettes (buckwheat crepes), waffles, toasties, baked treats and soups of the day – yum!

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Both their cold and hot matcha drinks come unsweetened – so you’ll have to add some sugar if you prefer it sweeter like me!

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My tired date πŸ™‚

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Not on the current menu, Mike got the Fancy Pants with crisp apples, prosciutto, double brie, baby spinach, Moscato glaze ($11.70)

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I quite enjoyed my Protein Hit with a 2 egg omelette, truffle salt, Otafuku sauce, and cheddar cheese ($8.70). The combination of Otafuku sauce, truffle and mayo flavours was a win!

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I have also tried one of the galettes – Fun Guy with mushrooms, cauliflower cream and spinach. I absolutely love mushrooms but unfortunately found the galette to be overall very bland. It was also an odd texture due to the grainy cauliflower cream that also made the galette very mushy. I would definitely recommend trying one of the others on the menu!

During one of our visits, the soup of the day was Pumpkin Soup – creamy and delicious with chunks of ham – definitely try it if you have the chance! Hearty and soul warming πŸ™‚

Looking forward to another visit for the sweet crepes and waffles. Happy visiting!

Comforts!

April 6, 2016

When you’ve got some time on your hands, nothing beats some homemade comfort foods.

My first time making tomato soup – fresh, tangy, healthy, yummy! As a kid growing up, I loved having the Campbell’s tomato soup with Premium Plus crackers. Now I know, homemade soup is on a whole different level!

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Night Ward Call

March 28 – May 1, 2016

5 weeks… 5 gruesome weeks of night shifts, being the only junior doctor covering nearly the entire hospital including: general medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics, cardiology, sub-acute geriatric evaluation, pallative care + oncology.

Let’s just say it was a lonesome time working mostly by yourself! Never another soul in the staff lounge whenΒ  you do have a few minutes to relax.

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There were many significant moments for me, including unexpected deterioration and deaths of patients, attending my first full-on resus (CPR, advanced life support – patient didn’t make it), managing many acutely unwell patients, etc!

One of the more fun moments – being approached by a nurse, “I don’t know what’s happening with this patient, but there’s all this blood on the floor after she’s gone to the toilet!”

My immediate reaction, “What?! What do you mean you don’t know?!” This was also right in the middle of reassessing a lady for a potential MET call. So the shift coordinatory (nurse in change) and I ran down to the other side of the ward to check on this other lady and was greeted by this wonderful sight:

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Don’t worry guys, she was fine! She just had a huge infected intra-abdominal abscess that was awaiting surgery when it finally exploded! She was actually feeling well with some of the pressure relieved!

So many memories from my 5 weeks on night ward call – it was definitely busy and sometimes incredibly stressful. But my medicine has definitely improved and I was happy for the experience.

Not to mention, I lost weight working nights and looked my best (ever) for our wedding! πŸ˜‰

Cheese and Biscuits Cafe

March 31, 2016

Cheese and Biscuits Cafe is one of our favourite places in Rockhampton! Which makes it the perfect visit for a breakfast date.

They offer a simple menu revolving around delicious toasted paninis, baguettes, and sandwiches, as well as a variety of drinks, and a display cabinet full of tantalizing sweets. The service is always quick and friendly. Laid back atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. A testament to their service and food is the familiarity between customers and the staff – obvious frequent customers.

The cafe is also loved by the community for proudly being a breast feeding friendly establishment, making the news in May 2015, which you can read about HERE.

We have yet to try all the sandwiches, but these 2 are definitely our favourite (all of them are super tasty though!)

Bonnie Loch ($12.50) with smoked salmon, red onion, dill creamed cheese

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The Dlough’y ($12.50) with BBQ pulled pork, cheese and coleslaw.

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Toasted to perfection with perfect flavour combinations – they never disappoint!

Coffee is tasty and they also offer a selection of (huge) smoothies ($6.90) which are subtle in flavour and not too sweet – made with greek yoghurt, skim milk and ice.

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We also never pass up an opportunity to grab something sweet – like this black forest cake – to have for later! We keep hearing about how amazing their caramel tarts are but haven’t yet had the chance to try!

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Definitely recommend a visit – any food choice you make, you won’t regret it! Wish I had taken more photos to share πŸ™‚

 

 

Walk around Kershaw Gardens

March 29, 2016

After our breakfast at The 2 Professors, Michael and I went for a lovely stroll in Kershaw Gardens. Unfortunately, a large majority of the park remains closed since Cyclone Marcia came through last year.

Here are a few beauties from our short visit!

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Understandable if this is why the park is still not open!

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Ants feasting on a dead moth!

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Pond covered with water lilies

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Great little stroll in the park before going to home to sleep! πŸ™‚ Hopefully the full park reopens soon!

Breakfast Date at The 2 Professors

March 29, 2016

Around this time, Michael and I were both working night ward call, alternating each other’s schedule… so when I was off, Mike was working and vice versa. Luckily, with only a little bit of difficulty, we successfully inverted our schedules. That meant, we were consistent night owls and slept during the day (12pm-9pm… ish)

That also meant, the opportunity for so many breakfast dates! Which never happens!

Finally had the opportunity to try out The Two Professors – a local favourite joint.

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Great open space with nice decor and variety of seating options. Order at the counter and grab your own seat.

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Michael (and many people we know) said the coffee was fantastic.

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We were incredibly excited that they offered REAL bagels! So you know what we had…

We both had Benny’s in Detention ($16.50)

Michael enjoyed smoked salmon with sauteed spinach and poached eggs with house made hollandaise

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I had the Italian sausage patty, bacon, poached eggs and sauteed spinach with house made hollandaise

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We both agreed that the bagels were great – dense and chewy. However, my Italian sausage was not flavourful and terribly salty. In addition, it was a very long wait for our food.

Didn’t deter us from returning, as we soon came back for another breakfast. Again, there was quite a long wait for food. This time, I had the Cherry Ripe Pancakes – ricotta coconut pancakes with house made nutella chocolate syrup and black forest cherry ice cream ($15.50). A generous serving, however, I must not be a fan of coconut pancakes. In addition, the main reason I ordered this dish was the promise of ‘black forest cherry ice cream.’ Unfortunately, they served plain vanilla ice cream and when I inquired, the server didn’t even know if that was normally served. I was later told that it is the combination of the berry compote and vanilla ice cream that makes up ‘black forest’ Just a little underwhelming!

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Despite that, I would still recommend The 2 Professors to those looking for a new place to visit for breakfast. However, I will wait until my next bagel craving! πŸ˜‰

The Two Professors Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New joint in town – Burger Urge

March 26, 2016

For those who don’t know, a new eating area has opened at Stockland Rockhampton. The Terrace now houses a number of familiar names including Max Brenner and Guzman Y Gomes. My favourite? Burger Urge

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Not the first time we’ve been, check out this visit to a Brisbane location years ago!

Always bustling! But you are quickly served and the staff are nothing but friendly and attentive.

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Our company for the night πŸ˜‰

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Burger Urge is licensed which is great if you want a drink with your meal!

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Have a look at the menu for the variety of burgers (beef, chicken, lamb, vege) available. If not, you could have a salad or po boy sandwiches.

This is the Natural Born Griller ($12.50) with beef, grilled field mushroom, melted American style cheddar, truffle mayo, aioli & salad – yum!

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New Yorker ($12.50) with beef, crispy maple bacon, pickles, melted American style cheddar, hickory BBQ sauce, aioli & salad

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Our favourite at Burger Urge, which we never fail to order, is the Share Plate ($13) with thick cut fries, sweet potato chips & onion rings served with trio of dips (truffle mayo, aioli & ranch). Crispy, well seasoned and oh so generous, perfect for sharing between 2… or more!

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We have been back a number of times already, each time we have left satisfied with both the quality of food and service. Some people aren’t a fan of the beef patties as they appear to have quite a significant amount of filler in them. We don’t disagree… but still like! πŸ˜‰

March Moments

March 3, 2016

Second year post graduation and now practicing medicine without restrictions. You know what that means… we can finally apply for Australian permanent residency! The downfall? It’s SO EXPENSIVE. Like, thousands of dollars. Not including the few hundreds of dollars we had to pay additionally for the mandatory health check (and a 1.5 hour drive)!

At least we got fancy disposable gowns for our chest x-rays and nice bandages for our bloods tests πŸ˜›

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And that evening, we enjoyed some good BBQ from Up In Smoke!

4 options available: beef brisket ($18), pork ribs ($17), pulled pork ($15) and mini sliders ($16). Each are served with 2 of the following sides: creamed corn, coleslaw and roasted sweet potatoes.

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Our favourite was the beef brisket – tender and moist with good flavour. The pork ribs were unfortunately just too dry and didn’t fall off the bone. The sides, as you can see, were nothing spectacular – particularly the sweet potato which were quite wet!

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With that being said, good value for the price! And yes, we would come back and try again!

March 5, 2016

For all you who say, “No you’re not!” whenever I say I’m literally going bald… believe me now? It’s for real!

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March 8, 2016

Jess & Jin treated us to something we’ve been meaning to try for a while – 3 in 1 Kitchen. In particular, trying out their Vietnamese subs ($5.90) and fruit smoothies ($5.90-6.90).

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As promised, their smoothies were fresh and delicious. You have the option of picking up to 4 fruits and the staff are happy to offer suggestions.

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Some of my readers might know, but my mom and aunt used to run THE BEST Vietnamese sub shop in Ottawa. With real, freshl, daily baked crusty Parisian baguettes and every single ingredient (all the meats, garlic mayo, pate, pickles, etc) homemade – 3 in 1 subs just doesn’t compare. I’ve been way too spoiled my entire life. However, for the option of having Viet subs in Rockhampton – these are not bad! They are just no where close to being the best Viet submarines have to offer πŸ˜‰

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Would definitely come back to try their other Asian options including hot curries and noodles!

March 17, 2016

Homemade burgers at Chez Jin’s! Yummy yummy in our tummy πŸ™‚

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For dessert – gelato at the newly opened Gelatissimo at The Terrace! No complaints here!

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March 19, 2016

Drove down to Gladstone today for my first wedding dress fitting! Who would’ve thought a size 0 (zero!) would be too small for me!? Needed to have it taken in more at the waist and of course, hemmed for my height! I mentioned previously, but will be doing an entire wedding series to share my wedding planning experiences and reviews of my vendors – tell you more then!

Kitchen Moments of February & March 2016

February 21, 2016

Roasted Japanese eggplant!

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February 27, 2016

A nice batch of homemade kimchi – using mom’s famous recipe and my favourite – sugarloaf cabbage!

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And I have perfected a new favourite in this Canadian household – Butter pecan tarts! Now we don’t have to crave them anymore!

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March 2, 2016

I made one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes – Bun Rieu Cua – vermicelli served in a crab infused tomato broth with crab cakes, tomatoes, tofu, mushrooms and greens. A frequent request from Michael! Had Jess, Jin and Richard over to enjoy as well – the had seconds, I think that’s a good sign!

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March 5, 2016

A homemade Vietnamese classic – rice topped with fish sauce and scallion oil served with BBQ pork!

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Classic banana fritters

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March 6, 2016

I made an apple pie from scratch… for the first time! After a few goes, I think I’ve got my pastry recipe down. My crust looks laughable, but dang, it was good!

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March 19, 2016

Butternut squash on sale = making one of my favourite soups = perfection on a cool day

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March 22, 2016

An easy, but impressive favourite, crispy skin duck roast! Served with salad and golden roasted potatoes

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March 30, 2016

Somehow, I realised I had the right combination of ingredients in the fridge – pork mince, Chinese sausage, eggs, peas, onions, garlic, etc… for my mom’s traditional ‘banh bao’ or ‘steam bun’ However, I had also been craving her famous pate chaud. So we made the best of both worlds – puffed delights filled with the comforting flavours of steam buns.

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It was a kitchen day – also made a ton of my favourite white choc cranberry cookies for the O&G staff! The end of the first rotation of the year already, can you believe it?

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$40 Tapas & Wood fired pizza at Kanangra Heights

February 20, 2016

Richard and Jess joined us for a really nice dinner a top hill just outside Yeppoon in a villa-styled restaurant called Kanangra Heights.

After a day of rain, it finally stopped on our way to dinner!

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We arrived at the restaurant just as the sun was beginning to set, giving off fabulous colours and making a nice background with this old parked bus…

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The restaurant has a lovely relaxed ambiance, with both outdoor and indoor seating. There is mosquito repellent for you to use if sitting outdoors, which is very much appreciated by someone like myself.

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The furniture and decor is mismatched but sweet and romantic – really a perfect place for a romantic date night!

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Importantly is the food! Kanangra Heights offers a selection of different menus on different days, please check out their website for more information!

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We participated in the AYCE Wood-Fire Pizza & Tapas for $40/pp – definitely worth the visit and the money.

Pizza bases are pre-made for you to create your own pizza! We are always impressed at the number of toppings available, including: brie, olives, mushroom, roasted pumpkin, roasted eggplant, pineapple, sundried tomato, prawns, calamari, chicken, beef mince, salami, and more! With the toppings come a variety of sauces (bechamel, napoli, bbq, etc) to match your toppings. The pizza are then fired in the oven for you as you wait – doesn’t take more than a few minutes if there is no wait!

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For tapas dishes, you order directly with the staff. They encourage only ordering a few at a time as to not waste food. And depending on the number of people at your table, they will bring the perfect number to share (ie. If the menu says 2 pieces, they will bring you 5 pieces if you are a table of 5).

Wood fired garlic bread – yum!

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Seasonal Mushrooms in a Creamy Garlic Sauce served on Freshly Baked Puff Pastry Points

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Salt & pepper calamari, prawn cutlets and chips with tartare sauce

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Almond-Brie Croutons on Light salad of Apple and Salad Greens

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Moroccan Spiced Lamb Spring Rolls served with Minted Yoghurt Dipping Sauce & Lemon & Herb Dukkah

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They also have a few different specials each night which is listed on the board by the main door… worth checking out as well!

This was one of the specials… haloumi cheese with garlic rice

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And another… scallops on a spoon with chili

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Some dessert options, all of which are served with ice cream or cream

Chocolate Mud Cake

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House Made Cheese Cake

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Sticky Date Pudding served with Warm Caramel Sauce

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Eton Mess – a Parfait of Fresh Fruit, Whipped Cream and Meringue

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We have now visited twice for the tapas and pizza special. The food is overall good, however, taste and presentation are not consistent, despite the same menu. In addition, service is great but the food takes forever to arrive. Perhaps this is a clever tactic to stop you from overeating, but we arrive hungry and really do want to try all the dishes!

During our last visit (June 16, 2016), it took us 3 requests to have our scallops served. We had also ordered some buffalo wings and prawn cocktails that never arrived. Towards the end of the night, the staff returned to ask us if we still wanted them or move on to dessert. At that point, we decided to just move on to dessert and she began clearing our plates before we even finished the remaining food (calamari/prawn/chips)!

Despite the above, we would still recommend visiting Kanangra Heights at least once. The venue, location, and ambiance are all very lovely. They have a good drinks menu and the food is overall tasty. Worth coming for the experience!

MOMENTS IN FEBRUARY 2016

February 8, 2016

Officially upgraded with new hospital ID!

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February 11, 2016

Homemade traditional Malaysian laksa by Jess & Jin! Thanks for dinner you two!

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February 13-14, 2016

Valentine’s Day Getaway on Great Keppel Island with Jess & Jin! The weather was great, we couldn’t stay away! Stayed in two of the cabins with The Hideaway which was a great choice, would do it again!

Can’t get over how beautiful this place is!

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Hello to my first gray hair! And definite baldness!

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We got back to the main beach right as the storm came rolling in…

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Even with a storm, how gorgeous are these views?

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Can you believe Michael bet me $5 that the rain wouldn’t reach us? That silly man!

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As we had access to kitchen facilities, we went fancy πŸ˜‰ Sausages and caprese salad – yum!

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Amazingly, the storm passed and Valentine’s Day was beautiful. Clear blue skies and calm ocean waters! Had a great time paddle boarding – J&J’s first time!

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Found a hut supported by lots of lost thongs/flip flops

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Chilled out with food and cold drinks before heading back to reality… Happy Valentine’s Day!

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February 20, 2016

It was a rainy day today…

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But Yogoland had a $5/cup special… and it was awesome! I ate whatever I wanted but wasn’t too greedy πŸ˜‰

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Lightbox

February 7, 2016

3 months before our wedding, I finally found and ordered my wedding dress! And actually, Jess did too (unexpectantly)! Thank you to Gladstone Bridal for everything… which I will share more about in another blog post πŸ˜‰

After our dress adventure, we met up with Michael (who was killing time waiting around for us and Mike R to catch up over dinner. Both Mike R and Kon were in Gladstone doing an Emergency rotation, but unfortunately, Kon was working the evening shift.

Michael has been to lightbox for tapas dinner in the past and loved it. We have also all enjoyed an awesome breakfast there previously… check out this lightbox breakfast with eggs your way, bacon, sausage, roasted roma tomato, mushroom, baked beans and sourdough ($24).

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Given our previous good experiences, it was a no brainer to meet up at lightbox for dinner!

Service was impeccable as always. We arrived a little early for dinner but the place was packed later in the evening.

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We enjoyed a number of tapas dishes including the following:

Leek & manchego croquette with spicy mayonnaise ($9)

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Crispy Moroccan wings with lime aioli and lemon ($14)

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Lemon pepper calamari with tartare and lemon ($12)

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Sweet potato wedges with sweet chili mayonnaise ($8)

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Bruschetta with mushrooms and savoury schurros with cheese (sorry, I can’t remember exact name and price, and they are no longer listed on the menu)

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All the dishes were nice and as stated in the menu. Good serving size for price and I always appreciate generous servings of sauce! Great food, day and night, always friendly service and a changing menu. Would love to go back for dinner and try their main dishes! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Gladstone!

Lightbox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

East St Markets

February 6, 2016

Michael and I dropped into The Workshop earlier in the evening to leisurely savour all the food stalls of East St Market before meeting up with hospital gang for a hang out night πŸ˜‰

From their website:

Real foodies with real passion put happiness on a plate every Friday and Saturday night til 10pm.Β Many foodies are in fact chefs! Β Live entertainment from 7.00pm- check our What’s On page for who’s playing next. Indoor pop-ups, art classes and in-house Barber add to the unique, ever-changing experience.

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Look who we ran into! Daniel and his partner finishing up their dinner πŸ™‚

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We had Okonomiyaki (Savoury pancakes) &Β Gyoza dumplings from Izakaya @ Workshop – both yum with extremely friendly service!

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One of our favourite dishes of the night (came back for seconds!) came from Taste of Everest – Cumin potato curry with fried rice bread for $5! They have a number of other all vegetarian dishes to try! Wonderful service too!

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We also tried a couple of dishes from Bulgogi House – bulgogi (of course) and some mini savoury pancakes. The bulgogi was great but we wouldn’t get the pancakes again as they were bland.

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Dishes are around $15 maximum and there are always a number of stalls to choose from. And don’t forget the live music, bar, and company of friends! A good venue to unwind and have a good time with friends πŸ™‚

Moments in January 2016

January 24, 2016

Date night with Michael at Ribs and Rumps! Once in a while, I have cravings for ribs and Michael indulges me πŸ™‚

We shared the Signature Pork RibsΒ  – 1/2 rack for $39 – so expensive, I know! Always good though…

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And we also ordered the Entree Platter for Two – with boerewors sausage, honey bbq glazed buffalo wings, & seasoned panko crumbed calamari with nam jim dipping sauce ($29). Good value and tasty – would recommend the platter for sure!

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January 26, 2016

Hang out day with Jess & Jin! Started with breakfast at their place – we brought over stuff to make pancakes πŸ™‚

Cookie wanting a share of pancakes as well…

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Chilled

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And then decided to go watch The Hateful Eight. As this empty movie theatre can tell you, don’t waste your time. All 5 of us couldn’t stop fidgeting and agreed the movie was a waste of time.

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For dinner, back and J&J’s for a delicious baked snapper – thanks guys!

January 30, 2016

A day to be hoity-toity with the girls – Jess, Sabrina, Rachel and Micah. Thanks for hosting the High Tea Jess!

Impressive display of homemade goodies and tea sets πŸ™‚

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Sabrina made a Japanese styled cheesecake, Rachel made lemon squares. There were finger sandwiches and savoury pastry bites – yum! I went a little crazy for Jess and made carrot muffins, apple tarts, lemon rosemary scones, and cinnamon rolls.

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Needless to say, there was enough food and tea to keep us filled and last us hours of good conversation πŸ˜‰ And we still had enough food to share with the boys who went out and enjoyed a round of golf!

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And again, Cookie always wanting a part πŸ˜‰

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 31, 2015

New Years Eve was going to be a quiet night with board games. Somehow, we became the ‘cool kids’ and people wanted to hang out at our place. Of course we didn’t say no!

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Beers and board games for everyone! Rang in the new year with new friends and old… happy new year!

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There were even confetti poppers… I don’t even remember where they came from!

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I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and so kind of them to help clean up before heading home. Look at us starting the new year with this sparkling house!

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January 01, 2016

In reference to my previous post about Malaysia House, we spent a quiet first day of the new year with delicious takeaway! Pad Thai, Beef Rendang and Golden Sands prawns with leftovers for another meal… mmm!

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January 02, 2016

How lucky, still off work!

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We went to Yeppoon – Rosslyn Bay

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So you know it, we had a picnic and I got to bust out my brand new wicker picnic basket – I love it!

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Wine, croissants, biscuits, and more. Perfect food for perfect weather!

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I remember we toasted to the new year and all the excitement lined up… including moving up from interns to Junior House Officers, vacation, and getting married! Happy new year!

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Malaysia House

December 29, 2015

More recently opened in Rockhampton, we highly recommend visiting Malaysia House for some tasty food!

It’s just a little more expensive than other Asian restaurants, but definitely good value and the food is always delicious. With a drinks menu, lots of seating room, and friendly service,Β  we have never left Malaysia House dissatisfied.

We have frequented the restaurant a number of times, including for takeaway – here are a few dishes from our visit with friends shortly after Christmas!

Laksa – Malaysian style curry, coconut mil, vegetables and rice noodles ($13.80-18.80)
Has been one of favourite noodle dishes since first trying it in Singapore – and this dish does it justice!

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Golden Sands – deep fired in batter made from duck egg yolks ($20.80-24.80). This is my favourite dish at Malaysia House and I always recommend it to anyone who asks for suggestions. Salty, crunchy, and decadent, try both chicken and king prawn!

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Along with Amanda, Farrah, and Pei Yee, we had these two with us at dinner!

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Assam Dish – fish or king prawn cooked in tangy tamarind sauce with fresh tomatoes, okra and onions ($20.80-22.80). I didn’t have this dish, but was told it wasn’t bad!

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Angel hair king prawns – crispy king prawns in buttery egg floss and fresh curry leaves ($23.80) Tasty, but I still like Golden Sands more!

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Roti Canai – traditional flat bread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with curry dip and sambal paste ($3.00)

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Char Kway Teow – wok fried flat rice noodles in spicy sambal and bean sprouts ($14.80) Love the wok flavour and never overdone!

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Some of our other favourite regular dishes:

  • Curry puffs (3 for $7.80)
  • Rendang beef ($17.80)
  • Homemade BBQ duck ($25.80)
  • Salt and pepper silken tofu ($15.80)
  • Pad Thai ($14.80)
  • Nasi Lemak ($14.80)

They also have a Lunch Special menu, each dish less than $15! If you’re craving Asian food, looking for new place to try, stop by Malaysia House!

Malaysia House  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas Festivities

December 24, 2015

A quiet Christmas Eve together at home. And of course, Michael can’t do Christmas without some eggnog, rum and cinnamon!

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Also spent the night baking some of my favourite white chocolate & cranberry cookies to share on Christmas.

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December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We slept in, which was glorious. And then we opened presents together… our 5th Christmas together, how I love this man!

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We agreed not to spend too much on each other for Christmas presents this year (around $150)… gotta save up for the wedding!

Some stocking stuffers from Mike – I think he got me the Toblerone because it’s his favourite and he knew I would share πŸ˜‰

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A card from Michael’s parents

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Some of Michael’s stocking stuffers

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The Paediatric Ward did a Secret Santa gift exchange… I got some beautiful earrings and a notebook – thank you Santa!

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Gifts from my sister… all the way from Canada, thank you so much!

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Michael was so incredibly proud of his Christmas presents to me, and to be honest, I was amazed! He got me so many great things at such incredible deals, he stayed within the budget!

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I’ve always wanted a wicker picnic basket, and this one had 4 complete sets of stainless steel dinnerware and cutlery! And now that we have a beautiful island to visit, he’s bought me some fins to complete my snorkel gear. And a ground pad and inflatable pillow for camping (after getting me a sleeping bag earlier in the year!) And a girl can never have too many underwear – thank you so much my love!

Some of my gifts for Michael. Friends made fun of me for getting him a textbook but I thought as this is his current, most serious, decision in life – it would never hurt to have a good (recommended) reference book

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This was our first year away from family at Christmas, a little sad! But so kind of Nerissa to invite us to join for lunch with her parents (Aunt Neetha and Uncle Danny) visiting from Brisbane. We had a great time and it felt like having a family away from home πŸ™‚

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Old man Jin helping with lunch

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Started with a fresh watermelon and prawn salad with feta, mint and proscuitto

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We were treated to a full home cooked dinner complete with a turkey! And even got to try a different styled stuffing with a base from chicken liver, something tasty we’ve never had before!

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We had no idea, but there was even a gift exchange, which was so lovely! Thank you so much to everyone for including us two Christmas Orphans!

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How cute are these two?

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Garrett mugs for everyone!

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A Corelle set from Jess & Jin, mug from Garrett, Spa kit + men’s set from Aunt & Uncle… thank you so much guys!

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Love you guys!

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Dessert

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With these avid fishers, once the topic of fishing came up… it didn’t stop πŸ˜‰ Not only did they go down to fish in the evening, they also made plans to go fishing bright and early the following day πŸ˜›

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Thank you so much to our friends for a warm and beautiful Aussie Christmas celebration!

December 26, 2015

Family Christmas get together in Ottawa! Got to skype the g-parents the join the fam jam πŸ˜‰

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Even from afar they think of us too ❀

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These two!

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A beautiful Christmas gift from Amanda – diffuser with mood lighting

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A few days later, a package came in the mail for us – from Michael’s parents!

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So many delicious goodies!

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And some beautiful Christmas cards from our friends ❀

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Great Keppel Island… again!

December 18-20, 2015

After our first visit, we knew we would be back. What better way to celebrate upcoming Christmas than an island getaway with friends?

Jess, Jin, Mike and I went over to GKI first on the 18th. Due to some recent bad weather, the ride over on the smaller ferry with Keppel Konnections was a non stop crazy roller coaster ride. Thank goodness I took some Gravol before we left because my sea sickness would’ve left me very, very unwell πŸ˜›

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Unlike camping last time, we booked a cabin this visit. More specifically, we booked the A Frame with The Hideaway for approximately $300/night. They say maximum 6 people occupancy, but there are 3 queen beds and 3 single beds with enough towels for 9 people!

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The cabin did not have AC but very spacious and cool. Comfortable dining and living area. The only downside is 1 washroom, but you can always duck outside to use the public toilets and showers! They also have a small kitchenette but no oven/microwave.

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We were blessed with beautiful weather both days! The first night, we took it easy, chilling out and enjoying a nice charcuterie dinner in the cabin after sunset.

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Sunset yoga on the beach!

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Sillies!

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Beautiful sunset!

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Amanda and Kon joined us the following morning – yay! We did the hike over first to Monkey Beach to enjoy some private beaches and snorkeling in great weather

How gorgeous is this?

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Great conditions for snorkeling as well!

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Amanda ❀ Kon

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Relaxation 101

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How beautiful does the water look?

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White soft sand

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During snorkeling, we saw an enormous sting ray… looked like a dinosaur! Imagine the sound of its wings as it flaps across the ocean floor…

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Really good quality time with some best friends πŸ™‚

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Mermaid on the beach

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They boys decided to build a spa – really like this photo!

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Here is a video from our first visit to GKI – to give you an idea of what snorkeling has to offer!

One of the highlights of our trip? Skyping with my greatest friends back in Canada! Had the chance to catch up and show them the beautiful beaches they were missing out while suffering Canadian winter πŸ˜‰

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And hearing the greatest news… Ruixi and Chris expecting their first child due in June!

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I even got to participate in a gift exchange… I have the best friends ever!

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Moments in December 2015

December was a busy work month, but also lots of fun moments!

December 4, 2015

Boat cruise to the Keppel Islands with the gen surg + ortho crew! Sail, eat, relax, and swim for an entire day in beautiful weather – does it get better?

We went on The Grace with Sail Capricornia – which was great and we highly recommend! Especially if you have a group of friends and want to rent it out for a private day!

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Group photo courtesy of Sail Capricornia – check them out!

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December 6, 2015

Breakfast date, checking out the Sizzler’s breakfast – not too shabby for less than $20! Easy fans, we have since been back a few times! I always enjoy some hot food including eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and hash browns before moving on to the sweet pastries, fruit, and of course, ice cream.

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December 10, 2015

The Great Debate: Interns vs Registrars. An annual tradition debating silly topics. This year, ‘Are clothes pins best left on the clothesline?’

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The interns (Jin, Marco and Chuan) debated yes while the registratrs were against the argument. Anyone would common sense would know you should always take the pins off the line: it’s more effort leaving them on and having to shuffle them and take them off each time to hang new laundry, they erode/get dirty/crack in the sun, and spiders!

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Unfortunately, the registrars were doomed to fail as the winning argument was decided by the volume of cheer awarded. Given it was a room full of interns… well you know what happened.

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The Paediatric Unit put in so much effort to decorate the ward for Christmas (Theme: Beach). Every year, there is a hospital wide contest, but unfortunately, we didn’t place first!

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The AMAZING stone fruit available this time of year. So good and so cheap! Can never get enough

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And also on December 10th, we had dinner with the Paediatric team at Stonegrill Restaurant (Ascot Hotel)! A chance to spend some quality time with colleagues outside of work.

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I’d read good reviews about the restaurant, but unfortunately, didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

Because we were a large group and they served everyone’s stonegrill at once, the ones prepared first were pretty much already cooked to nearly well done by the time they reached the table. I was one of them, which was sad because it really defeated the purpose of cooking my own steak, to my own liking.

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The service was really good though. The owner (?) spent time explaining the types of meat available and the proper way to cut and cook our steaks on the stonegrill – unfortunately, a few of us had to eat our food as quick as possible before it turned into a tough chewy mess. There were very few chips and they (as you can probably see from the photo) were soggy! The sauce was also very dilute and flavourless. For $30+/person – unfortunately left disappointed! I don’t often say this, but I would lean towards not coming back unless I had no other new restaurants to try 😦

Stonegrill Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


December 11, 2015

Michael and I made a delicious home cooked meal with slow cooked pulled pork, sweet potato mash, summer salad, cauliflower gratin and cinnamon buns! To share in the yumminess, we invited Amanda, Kon, Mike R, and Farrah over to join us for an early Christmas dinner!

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Putting up the Christmas Tree!

November 26, 2015

We put up the Christmas tree! Of course we didn’t care that it was not yet December, we would’ve put it up earlier if we could!

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Apparently, it was enough of a celebration for Michael to finally break into his Christmas present from me last year – a 21 year old Glenfiddich single malt scotch whisky. It was pretty tasty, even I (and I don’t like scotch) enjoyed a sip! Michael was a happy man!

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And he got to spend the whole evening with this crazy one…

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Ta da!

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Some our favourite decorations, mini-me graduation presents from Uncle Rick and Aunt Wendy! Not that the inscription is in any way true!

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Thai Taste

November 24, 2015

Starving after a long day of work, Pei Yee, Amanda, and I dug in and caught up with each other over a delicious meal at Thai Taste.

One of the most popular Thai restaurants in Rockhampton, this was only my first time visiting.

The restaurant is pretty spacious, maybe even seating approximately 100 people and was decently busy for weekday night.

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For starters, we had Todmun Pla – Thai spicy fish cakes served with sweet chili sauce ($8.50). Good chewy texture!

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We also had some Tom Kha Gai – Chicken coconut milk soup with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and mushroom ($10.90). This is my favourite Thai soup, with has so much depth of flavour is always belly warming!

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We shared a few main dishes, including Chicken Pad Thai – stir fried noodles with egg, carrot and topped with peanuts ($16.90). The flavour of this dish was really good, however, the noodles were too saucy for our liking.

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Tamarind Prawns – slowly cooked with special curry sauce, cashew nuts, and vegetables ($20.90). As you can see, this dish is the furthest thing from being aesthetically pleasing, which could explain why the other girls didn’t quite like it. I’m unsure, but think the odd texture is due to scrambled eggs? Although not terrible, we would not order this dish again.

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And lastly, Crispy Chicken ($16.90) which is self explanatory and very hard to go wrong πŸ˜‰

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Overall, we had a lovely time and would definitely be back to try more dishes, especially the curries as we didn’t have any this visit. Service was great and the prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity of food served!

There was an article recently published – the owners of Thai Taste will be opening a second restaurant on the South side of Rockhampton – yay, closer to my house!

Thai Taste Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Must-stop in Yeppoon: Afishionados

October 15, 2015

Michael and I were in Yeppoon for a day and had been craving fish and chips for a while! We’d heard many good things about Afishionados by the coast and finally decided to visit – we were not disappointed!

It was a very late lunch/early dinner for us – so not many other patrons, most of them takeaway.

The shop was very spacious, clean and bright. We liked the simplicity of decor and the mix of both private and communal seating.

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Fresh flowers at each table is always a stunning and appreciated touch.

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Some shops can be stingy on condiments, napkins, etc, not this place with their tidy self-serve area!

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A very uncomplicated menu, but something for everyone.

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One of the us had the Fishermans Basket with battered flathead, crumbed whiting, calamari, prawns, scallops, oyster, served, with chips, lemon, cocktail & tartare sauce ($18)

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The Local Snapper served with chips, fresh dressed salad, lemon & tartare sauce ($17) was not available but another fresh local fish was available. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name, but the flesh was white, dense, and flavourful – a really good choice!

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The panko crumbed option is the best in my opinion. Perfect crunch πŸ˜‰ Some fish and chips are greasy, soggy and taste fishy. Ours was light, crispy and fresh – everything fish and chips should be! The presentation was also beautiful. Generous amounts of sauces served on oyster shells and food served on ‘modern’ newspaper lining – specifically printed on special paper for the store.

We don’t make it down to Yeppoon often, but would definitely visit here again because our food was fantastic πŸ™‚

I note that as of March 2016 – Afishionados is under new management. Their menu now includes specials like fish burgers, seafood chowder, seafood skewers, and more! Would definitely want to go back and check out the new menu – sounds delicious!

Afishionados Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our New Getaway – Great Keppel Island

November 20-21, 2015

We couldn’t believe we didn’t do this sooner – what an amazing place!

Less than an hour drive from Rockhampton to Keppel Bay Marina followed by a 30 minute ferry ride over – Great Keppel Island offers beautiful views and gorgeous beaches with soft white sand and calm, crystal clear waters.

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There are 2 main ferry operators: Larger ferry with Freedom Fast Cats ($55 return) and a smaller ride through Keppel Konnections ($45 return). Both ferries will drop you off on Fisherman’s Beach – the main beach and hub where accommodation and restaurants are located.

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There are two main accommodations: Great Keppel Island Hideaway and Great Keppel Island Holiday Village. Prices are extremely reasonable, especially during off season. Both offer a number of options for a variety of group sizes, including: camping sites, cabins, decked tents, bunk houses, and houses. Depends on your mood obviously, but check all the options available!

For our first visit, Michael and I decided to camp – so we packed up all our gear booked a plot at Holiday Village. Toilet and kitchen facilities provided, along with use of snorkel gear and paddle boards, which is great!

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Here is something we always do and highly recommend πŸ˜‰ Bring a no fuss meal to have your first evening on the island. Bring it to the beach and watch the beautiful sunset. Our favourite? A charcuterie dinner – lightweight, everything packs nicely in a small cooler bag, delicious variety, and goes perfect with a bottle of wine. A blanket, some crackers, bread, dips, olives, meats, cheese, fruit, a bottle of wine, some disposable cutlery and cups are all you need for a romantic, delicious sunset dinner.

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Look at how gorgeous it is!

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Our other food recommendation? Enjoy a filling hot buffet breakfast in the morning (available some days) at the GKI Hideaway Island Bar & Bistro before heading out. Bring lots of snacks and water and hike over to swim and enjoy the many other beautiful beaches! End your night back on the main beach enjoying cold drinks and a meal at one of the restaurants πŸ˜‰

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Yoga seagull

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Lots of opportunity for people watching (as you might have noticed already in this post)

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We have only explored some of the beaches on the South Eastern side of the island – but hope to explore others in the future!

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We definitely enjoyed hiking over to Long Beach, then back towards Monkey Beach and Shelving Beach. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear! There is some pretty decent coral reefs just a short swim from shore from Monkey and Shelving beaches! You will have to climb uphill so need to be in a little bit of shape!

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View of Fisherman’s Beach on our hike over to nearby beaches!

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And view of the nearby Keppel Islands

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Long Beach

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You know it, with views and peaceful scenery like that, we definitely have gone back. And plan to do so again many times as we can while we live in Rockhampton!

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Friends, come visit us! We will take you here! πŸ™‚

Moments of November 2015

November 07, 2015

Surprisingly a good handful of colleagues who also enjoy board games!

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November 12, 2015

A Christmas parade in the summer! We have never seen such a thing so took advantage of the evening off. Michael and I had dinner at Nando’s (always have to remind myself never to go there again… just don’t see the appeal!) right by the road the parade was passing through.

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Those poor possibly confused kids – we saw over 5 Santas in that parade! πŸ˜›

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Certainly nowhere near the extravagance of Christmas parades we are used to but still heartwarming to see all the participants in their vehicles and the families lining the streets to cheer and support!

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November 13, 2015

A farewell tea for one of our favourites – Dr Jama! A long term locum who was moving on to work in Brisbane – everyone was sad to see him go! He was the first supervisor I worked under as an intern and certainly one of the best first experiences as a junior doctor!

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Michael also had the chance to work with him, I think we are both on the same page! Sad to see him go!

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Lucky for us, since November, Dr Jama has since come back to work again as a medical specialist locum – hooray for us!

HALLOWEEN THANKSGIVING!

October 31, 2015

Canadian Thanksgiving landed on October 12th. However, due to busy work schedules, we decided to take the opportunity to celebrate together with Halloween!

It was quite a special occasion because Michael and I, for the first time in the history of our lives in Australia, bought and roasted a turkey. That’s right, a whole turkey! I’ve never even made the turkey at family thanksgiving meals before… but dang, it was a success!

Of course, we invited all our Canadian (and other) friends to share in some of the warmth.Β  The catch? Wear costumes as it’s obviously Halloween, and bring a little something to share!

Michael and I prepped, stuffed, and roasted a turkey – what.

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Naps while the turkey was cooking πŸ˜›

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We don’t know how it happened so well to be honest… so juicy and tender!

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We also made some roasted potatoes, mashed potato and salads – coleslaw and diced tomato & cucumber. We absolutely could not find any fresh or frozen cranberries so after a bit of internet research – I attempted to make a cranberry sauce from Craisins. It was surprisingly, really good. I would definitely make it again!

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For the first time in my life, I made stuffing from scratch… and it was good! I’ve learned the key spice to stuffing is sage – which is now a staple in my pantry. Growing we have always loved (and still do) Stove Top dressing, but homemade is pretty easy too!

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And of course, can never miss dessert – whipped up apple danish logs and mini pecan pie muffins!

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I thought our burglar costumes were pretty economical. Bought a striped shirt that I can wear on a regular basis and a toque from the Reject Shop (less than $5) with LED lights that could actually be useful in a power outage/camping situation!

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Amanda came as a goth and I could not stop laughing at Kon’s – a Russian dressed as a Mexican πŸ˜›

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Michael thanks you two again for his birthday gift! Those glasses were just perfect for him to enjoy with his collection of scotch!

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Lisa was a gypsie/fortune teller and we happened to have just the prop she needed to complete her look – an LED ball.

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Chuan came conveniently as himself, a Habs fan and his girlfriend Angela was obviously much more creative as Medusa!

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The little minions of the gathering – Jess and Jin – we were impressed at their costume dedication.

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Even their dog Cookie came dressed as a witch!

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Thug Rachit representing his hometown Toronto πŸ˜‰

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A third Canadian boy who was costume lazy and donned his Canadian gear – Garrett! Pei Yee was a vampire! Although I don’t have close up photos of her, she was a pretty one πŸ˜‰ And there was one without a costume, I’m looking at you Bryan!

Obligatory Canadian group photo

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It was a night of gluttony, with many beers brought and consumed alongside some additional tasty food from everyone!

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Including Mediterranean risotto from Lisa

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Pasta bake with beans and cheese by Angela

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Sweet potato cups by Amanda

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Spicy fried rice by Bryan

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It was also Chuan’s birthday on November 3rd. He brought an ice cream cake for early celebration with everyone – hip, hip, hooray!

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2 Jins?

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2 Gs?

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Hope everyone left stuffed – we sure were.

And the best thing about any Thanksgiving meal? Leftovers for days!

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Until next year!

Catch up dinner at Park Avenue Hotel

October 25, 2015

A restaurant initially chosen for its convenient location close to Jess & Jin’s house – we left Park Avenue Hotel pleased!

The ambiance is bright with ample seating room. We didn’t have reservations but were seated promptly in a booth that allowed more privacy.

For starters, we shared a trio of dips with grilled ciabatta bread ($10) – the dips of the day included balsamic & olive oil, olive tapenade, and pesto. Very generous servings of dips, we wish they served it with more bread so they wouldn’t go to waste!

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Our dinner dates!

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2 of us had the fish of the day. If I remember correctly, it was salmon on roasted asparagus and kipler potatoes with chardonnay cream and topped with crumbed scallops ($28)

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Crumbed fish, prawns & scallops served with coleslaw, beer battered chips & tartare sauce ($29). With a craving for fish and chips, – these hit the spot! The prawns and scallops were small though!

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Lastly, I got the Chicken schnitzel topped with bacon, bbq sauce & grilled swiss cheese topped with tomato & onion salsa, served with beer battered chips & salad ($23). The schnitzel was well cooked but I think a few tweaks to the dish would make it better. There should’ve been more quantity of BBQ sauce and salsa for flavour, and the bacon should be served as a diced and crispy topping, rather than a whole piece of soggy bacon.

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We enjoyed our time at the PA Hotel and have been meaning to go back for their ‘Put Pork on your Fork’ Thursday special – slow roasted pork belly on crushed honey and black pepper roasted sweet potato with wilted spinach & roasted garlic jus. Includes a glass of house wine or pot of beer or soft drink for $20! You know me, I love roasted pork and crackling more! Keep seeing rave reviews so hope to go sometime soon!

Dinner is a tad on the expensive side, but they also have a great looking lunch menu with $15 specials. Would definitely recommend checking them out if looking for a nice place to eat with good customer service and food!

Park Avenue Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Finally went fossicking!

October 24, 2015

On our way to Blackdown Tableland National Park for camping back in May 2015 – we drove across a sign for Mt Hay Gemstone Tourist Park. Located approximately 30 minutes from Rockhampton.

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Fossicking! For thundereggs! Right up my alley. If you didn’t already know, I love rocks πŸ™‚ After a few failed attempts at making the trip out to visit – we finally did it! Thank you to the wonderful friends who indulged me.

And for those who are wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Established in 1974 to allow visitors to dig their own thundereggs and spherulitic rhyolite, the Mount Hay Gemstone Tourist Park remains a popular destination for fossickers seeking these curious volcanic formations. Mt. Hay is the remains of an extinct ancient volcano, which was last active about 120 million years ago. When it was a rumbling volcano millions of gas bubbles were present in the molten rhyolite lava .. it is these gas ‘pockets’ that became thundereggs. Thundereggs or volcanic birthstones are the result of these β€œpockets” filling with siliceous liquids containing impurities and trace elements, which crystallize as they cool, and when cut in half, reveal many different colours and patterns.

The fee is only $25, which includes an introduction to the history of Mt Hay, what to look for and how to fossick for thundereggs. In addition, you are given the tools to fossick and at the end, they will cut a few of your treasure finds!

We even had the chance to meet Don of the founding Kayes family! He was absolutely lovely and extremely patient and informative. He took us out back, got on his knees digging with us and even put up with our lame jokes – thanks Don!

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We had tons of fun and spent hours fossicking. We actually had no idea what we were doing but followed Don’s instructions – looking for rocks that appeared round/egg shaped. We crossed our fingers that we weren’t picking up duds and instead, hoped to find rocks with centres of jasper, quartz, agate and amethyst!

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The large display you can have a look at to get an idea of all the sorts of thundereggs you can come across

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When the sun finally started to go down, Don came back out to herd us back into the shop.

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Once inside, we were given buckets and brushes to wash our rocks.

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We then eagerly showed Don our collections and he helped us pick the ‘best chance’ rocks to cut.

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All of us hit the jackpot. We oo’d and ah’d over each others finds and all left with happy grins and the promise to one day return with more friends!

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If, like us, you found a bunch of rocks you wanted to have cut – don’t worry! The additional fee is very reasonable! πŸ™‚ Estimate based on the size of the rock (I can’t remember the price, but they have a display chart you can use to estimate costs)

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You were awesome, thanks so much Don!

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And don’t forget to check out the gift shop – lots of neat things to pick up! I bought a piece of amethyst the size of my palm for less than $10 for Michael as he missed out. Now on display with our liquor! πŸ˜‰

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Thank you for hanging out with me Amanda, Kon, Pei Yee, and Angela!

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MOMENTS OF OCTOBER 2015

A look back at some fun times!

On October 3rd, Amanda and Pei Yee hosted a Malaysian Night for us! They cooked a number of Malaysian dishes for the guests to enjoy including Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang. All the guests also brought food to share and it was overall an incredible feast! Mike and I brought coconut sticky rice with jackfruit and some carrot cupcakes πŸ˜‰

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October 15 was date day with Michael! As per his wishes, we went golfing at Emu Park. The course was green, the sky was blue and we had a great day out together.

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Unfortunately, I suffer incredible reactions to insect bites and lived in agony from tiny sandflies bites over the next week 😦

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Very surprisingly, my favourite rotation of 2015 was Surgery. Me, of all people! I had an incredible time with the surgical team, enjoyed the work and the cases, felt supported and was constantly learning. We had a lovely farewell dinner with the consultants and registrars on October 22 at The Spice Route. Thank you everyone for a great time on Surgery – I definitely miss it!

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The following night was the Hospital Masquerade Ball, held at the Leichardt Hotel. The food was terrible but luckily the band was good and the company better. Would we pay that much to go again next year? Probably not to be honest!

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Having a photo booth was fun!

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This gorgeous couple – nearly ready to meet their little one!

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And my handsome man πŸ™‚

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More to come for the month of October!

(I know, please bear with me. It’s April and I’m back blogging for October. But it’s because I want a record of my memories!)

ADELAIDE: DAY 4 – CENTRAL MARKET, RUNDLE MALL, ETC

September 29, 2016

Our last ful day in Adelaide! How quick time flew by!

We started off the morning going to Central Market with the Lewington Family – so much good food! Michael and I have always loved markets and this was certainly one filled with lots of sights and smells.

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We enjoyed a few snacks for breakfast/lunch including sandwiches, and this kim chi and sweet potato fritter from Let Them Eat!

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We forgot to take some photos but we most definitely also bought cakes/pastries from this wonderful shop! Don’t have anything like this in Rockhampton so definitely had to take advantage πŸ˜‰

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And who could resist this delectable baklava? Best I’ve had in years!

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We also picked up a snack to enjoy back home – Mushroom Pate from Little Acre McLaren Vale – yum, it was as delicious as it sounds.

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Matt then left for work while the rest of went to see more of the city.

Took a nice walk down to Rundle Mall

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Rundle Mall reminds us of Queen St Plaza in Brisbane

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Caught the end of a street performance with floating glass balls/orbs

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Isabelle had a ton of fun running around in the open and playing by the water fountains

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‘The Mall’s Balls’

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Coffee stop!

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Lots of photos of Isabelle!

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Stopping for coffee gave a chance to people watch…

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The dilemma of having too many choices of board games…

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That evening, we went to Star House for a dim sum dinner with Matt. For the first time in my very short professional career, I had the opportunity to identify myself as a doctor in public. Right as our food was being served, a very intoxicated woman fell to the ground in front of the cash register beside our table. She was conscious and fine, but traveling alone, so we stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. Food was good though!

Spent the rest of the night and the next morning with the Lewingtons before heading to the airport and back to the real world!

Thank you so much to Matt, Laura and Isabelle for letting us stay with them, so great to spend time with you and seeing Adelaide together!

Adelaide: Day 3 – Dinner at The Moseley

September 28, 2015

After a wander down Jetty Rd, we decided to have dinner at The Moseley Bar & Kitchen. They have a sit down restaurant on the first floor and a bar restaurant upstairs.

As we have never been to The Moseley, based on the menu alone, we decided to eat in their downstairs restaurant.

Lovely lighting and what a welcoming view! Bright, uniquely furnished, warm, spacious, and casual – just what we were looking for.

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We had not made reservations but did not have any issues. We were shown to some couches and coffee table as our dining area. Interesting wall beside us filled with old window panels.

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Eye drawing and installed at the front of the restaurant are comfy hanging white wicker chairs. We couldn’t resist a swing after dinner πŸ˜‰

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Our lovely company for the night!

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Started off the evening with some fresh bread!

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Isabelle and I still working on our selfie game πŸ˜‰

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Matt and Laura decided on the same dish – Ricotta Gnocchi with kale, broccolini & almonds ($25) which they both enjoyed!

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Michael and I were interested in trying a few of the entrees!

Pork Belly Japanese ramen broth with shaved bug tails and wheat noodles ($15). We both thought this dish could’ve been much better, it just needed actual hot broth! When we first tasted the dish, the pork belly was unfortunately dry, but the egg was nicely cooked, flavour of the broth and texture of the noodles were good. The broth, however, was lukewarm and as a result, the bug tails weren’t fully cooked, not to mention it’s odd eating a ramen dish that was neither hot nor cold. We asked the staff if this dish was meant to be room temperature and she happily offered to ask the kitchen to make us a fresh bowl. Sadly, the second bowl came out at the same temperature! If you are not serving noodles in a cold broth, it should come out steaming hot!

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Aside from the above mentioned fluke, the rest of the food was good!

We had Chicken, leek & truffle pithivier with frisΓ©e, bacon & croutons ($16). We learned a new word that night. Normally a sweet dish, a Pithivier is a round, enclosed pie usually made by baking two disks of puff pastry, with filling stuffed in between.

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Twice baked gruyere souffle with apple & walnut salad, Waldorf sorbet, & quince paste ($15). As you can imagine, all the components worked really well together. The sorbet was refreshing but we still don’t know what flavours Waldorf sorbet entails – totally forgot to ask!

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Last, but definitely our favourite of the night, Duck liver pate with goji berry jelly & charred house made bread ($15). Indulgent, and a really nice balance of savoury and sweet. We weren’t expecting the jelly to be a layer overtop the pate but it was great! We couldn’t get enough of the charred bread as well – it should come with more to prolong the enjoyment of the pate πŸ˜‰

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Enjoyable evening with great service and a welcoming atmosphere. We would love to come back if we lived in Adelaide and definitely recommend a visit!

The Moseley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Adelaide: Day 3 – Sunset at Glenelg

September 28, 2015

After the day exploring Hahndorf, we had ambitious plans to watch the sun set at Glenelg – a popular beach suburb complete with numerous hotels and a variety of restaurants.

Unfortunately, we just missed the sunset but there was still light and the colours were amazing!

Walked out onto the pier (it was cold!) to enjoy the lapping waves and darkening skies. Also a number of fishermen on the pier hoping for a catch.

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Pink wisps in the sky

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Enjoying the view

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An attempt at some family photos! Unfortunately, I didn’t realise my camera settings were way off, sorry for the terrible quality!

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At this time, Baby Emeline was coming soon! πŸ˜‰

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My favourite photo of the night

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Dark blues and pinks

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After sunset, we wandered down Jetty Rd checking out the options for dinner. We ended up deciding on The Moseley Bar & Kitchen and had a fantastic dinner. Will tell you more about it in a separate post!

We went home for a dessert bake off – cinnamon buns – Michael vs Laura. The winner? Matt and I! Haha, both were delicious and everyone was a winner πŸ™‚

Michael made a yeast dough version which required extra time and love.

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Laura used a non-yeast recipe that was also delicious and even had apples! These were definitely the inspiration for my quick and easy cinnamon rolls now!

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A great third night in Adelaide! Thanks again Lewingtons!

Adelaide: Day 3 – Lunch at the Haus

September 28, 2015

Spending a relaxing morning exploring Hahndorf still worked up quite an appetite! We had walked by the Haus earlier in the day and really liked their spacious outdoor tables and large menu selection, which made the decision easy. But if you’d prefer to sit indoors, there is plenty of seating as well!

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Lots of room for Isabelle to enjoy herself

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Laura enjoyed a light lunch comprising of Soup of the Day $10.90 with Ciabatta bread. She couldn’t remember exactly what type of soup, but it was rustic, definitely made of root vegetables and delicious!

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Isabelle enjoyed a Little Peoples meal of Ham, Cheese & Pineapple Pizza ($9.90) that Laura eventually helped her with as well. Decent sized, cheesy and tasty!

We also enjoyed a side of Haus Beer Battered Chips with Garlic Aioli ($6.90) – yum!

Now this is definitely something we would recommend to another visitor – the Beer Tasting Paddle with your choice of 4 Beers/Cider on tap with Local Nuts/Jerky ($15). Definitely ask for the bartender’s suggestions and be adventurous, this is a great deal!

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Michael and I shared the Trio of Wursts – Chef’s selection of German specialty sausages: Bockwurst, Bratwurst & Cheese Kransky with creamy mustard potato bake, sauerkraut, red wine sauce & German mustards ($29.90). Filling and delicious! The favourite between us was definitely the Bratwurst, but we really enjoyed them all.

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Our disappointment in this meal were the Organic Pretzels ($4 each). Perhaps we are used to the soft, chewy, buttery soft pretzels in North America but these ones were unfortunately quite tough and almost dry. We wouldn’t get these again next time.

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Overall a lovely lunch with great food! The service was fantastic and they have quite an extensive menu with something for everyone. We would definitely come back for another meal to try out more of their food selection if we are ever back in Hahndorf. Check it out if you’re visiting!

The Haus Hahndorf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Adelaide: Day 3 – Hahndorf

September 28, 2015

After breakfast at home with the Laura and Isabelle, we headed off to Hahndorf – Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

Hahndorf was definitely worth a visit! Very quaint with many shops to visit – from bakeries, candy shops, finding beautiful handmade candles, puppets and more! And of course, can’t forget the selection of different German restaurants to dine at!

My favourite photo taken in Hahndorf, I hope this will be Michael and I one day! At the very least, our height discrepancies will be accurate! πŸ™‚

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We almost immediately stopped in Copenhagen for some freshly made cinnamon sugar donuts… mmm!

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With an extensive menu, it was difficult not to order more on the menu, like waffles, pancakes, crepes, and ice cream!

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Mmm, piping hot… could have so many of these!

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My handsome partner!

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Lots of opportunity for nice photos!

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Stopped in for a visit at Heritage Museum Art Gallery. Beautiful handmade pieces of jewellery and art, although no money to buy! πŸ˜‰

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An empty gallery upstairs with remnants of Autumn Festival lanterns.

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Couldn’t resist a stop into Humbugs to stock up on some sweets! So many to choose from!

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Really delicious selection of fudge!

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Isabelle was definitely excited!

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Quick visit to 3 Wishes Candle Barn to check out their beautiful candles and pick up a gift for our wonderful friend, Amanda!

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Some beautiful wooden works including clocks and puppets at the German Village Shop

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Alpaca fleece products from The Alpaca Shop! Gorgeously soft pieces but also quite expensive!

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All the above mentioned shops are definitely worth a visit! Can surely find a little something for yourself or a loved one without much effort!

Next up – our delicious lunch at The Haus cafe+bar+kitchen!

Adelaide: Day 2 – Mount Lofty & Moon Lantern Festival

September 27, 2015

After a fun and indulging day in McLaren Vale, Matt drove us up to Mount Lofty for a view of Adelaide from a different perspective.

Mount Lofty is approximately 15km east of downtown, where there is a 4km uphill trek to the summit and is one of Adelaide’s most popular exercise circuits – of course, we drove.

Beautiful panoramic views greeted us, followed by a gorgeous sunset over Gulf St Vincent.

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A popular tourist destination, many people had the same idea as us

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The golden rays of sunset reminded me of autumn colours back home… almost.

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Worth the wait, look at this amazing sunset! And if you look close enough, you will see the silhouette of a plane just taking off!

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Beautiful just watching the sun go down…

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We didn’t stick around for long after the sunset as Laura and Isabelle were waiting for us. The moon was already high in the sky by the time we started heading back to the car!

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Visit up Mount Lofty reminded us of Mt Archer in Rockhampton… not nearly the same views though! πŸ˜‰

We went home to pick Laura and Isabelle up to head into the city and partake in the Moon Lantern Festival – I had not expected to be celebrating Autumn Festival this year so it was a pleasant surprise!

By the time we made it to Elder Park, it was packed with people. Luckily, we were able to grab a spot on the grass while Matt parked the car to enjoy the start of Australia’s largest lantern parade.

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The featured lantern, “the Hong Kong Dragon,” is the largest lantern created for a moon lantern festival.

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A view of the Adelaide Oval across the river

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There were tons of lanterns, including those from participating South Australian schools and community organisations – neat to see them all!

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The Moon Lantern Festival ended with a fireworks show over the River Torrens which everyone enjoyed!

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Slightly chilly, but fun night out!

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And of course, joining the throngs of people escaping!

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It was late by the time we left the festival. We dropped Laura and Isabelle home first to rest and get ready for bed. The boys and I headed back out in search of some dinner! The hope was to enjoy a cuisine not easily found (if at all) in Rockhampton.

Stay tuned for the next post!

ADELAIDE: DAY 2 – MCLAREN VALE

September 27, 2015

Day 2 in Adelaide was full of awesome firsts!

We started the day with breakfast with Matt, Laura, and Isabelle before heading out to Pete’s house and meeting his wife Chrissy and their 3 children. We also met another one of Matt’s colleagues, Chi, his wife Joan and their 2 children (plus grandparents)!

Thank you to Matt’s lovely colleagues and families for welcoming us and including us in their day out to McLaren Vale!

Only approximately 35km south of Adelaide, the drive out went by quick! We also passed by John (another one of Matt’s colleagues) and his family on the road, who would also be joining us for the day.

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Isabelle and I mastering selfies during the drive πŸ™‚

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The McLaren Vale region is known for its dry red wines, which meant our lucky day! We were very thankful that Chrissy had organised the day so well. McLaren Vale would take days to weeks to properly tour and we really enjoyed all the stops she had planned.

First up, Mollydooker Wines Cellar Door. The first thing you notice is the breathtaking view of vineyards against a hilly backdrop.

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Today, I learned that Mollydooker Wines was not only started by Sarah and Sparky Marquis, a husband and wife team, but that mollydooker is also an Aussie term for left-handers. You guessed it, Sarah and Sparky are also lefties! They have a pretty interesting story, you can read more here!

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The Cellar Door had a quirky, retro themed tasting room with easy going staff and generous tastings we must say!

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The boys loved some of the red selection, particularly the Velvet Glove Shiraz and Gigglepot Cabernet Sauvignon. It was also my first time trying Miss Molly (Sparkling Shiraz) and Girl on the Go (Sparkling Verdelho), both of which were great. And we were even served some beautiful, warm home made bread with olive oil and dukka – yum!

They had a promotion going at the time of our visit. Post a selfie with Mollydooker’s Girl on the Go and receive a free bottle of Girl on the Go or a pair of flutes. Was too good not to pass up πŸ˜‰

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Beautiful backdrop and outdoor seating area to really soak in the surroundings.

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Thanks for a great visit Mollydooker Wines, hope to be back in the future!

Next stop was Serafino Restaurant for lunch πŸ™‚

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The grounds are immaculate and is the perfect location for a wedding or special occasion – there was a baptism lunch the day we visited – very eloborate!

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I remember waiting a long time for the food to arrive, but it was delicious! Mike had the Beef Wellington and I enjoyed an herb crusted lamb rack with baby veggies and gnocchi – yum! Definitely on the pricier side but worth a visit for a special occasion!

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Last on our McLaren Vale stops – Penny’s Hill Cellar Door. Rustic and charming, it was a relaxing way to end our visit. I also love their elegant and distinct packaging.

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Lots of sitting area, even a restaurant! Can watch grazing sheep or check out the chooks. Great for kids to hang out as well πŸ™‚

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Both of us concentrating on a game we don’t know how to play

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Isabelle visiting the chooks

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Wine is serious business

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Can’t get over the amazing views in McLaren Vale!

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Took some photos of Laura, looking fabulous at 36 weeks!

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Soon it was time to head back as we thanked and said good bye to our new friends for a great time!

Mike and I absolutely loved McLaren Vale (or maybe we just love vineyards) but definitely hope to visit again… for much longer!

We couldn’t buy too much, but did leave with a nice bundle of souvenirs to enjoy at a later date πŸ˜‰

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Club Med Turkoise – Turks & Caicos

March 05-12, 2015

One week. One glorious week full of beautiful weather, gorgeous beach with turkoise waters, delicious food, sun and fun.

Where? Turks & Caicos. A British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago.

More specifically, we stayed at Club Med Turkoise on Grace Bay, Providenciales (Caicos Islands – home of most local residents) – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – ranked #2 on Trip Advisor!

As you might remember from our previous Club Med experience in Bali, we are huge fans of the Club Med all inclusive experience. The location, the activities, the food, and the people you meet are some of the best reasons to choose Club Med for a fun-filled, stress free holiday.

We were supposed to fly from Ottawa to Charlotte then onwards to Providenciales. Unfortunately, our first flight was delayed so we got re-routed from Ottawa to Toronto to Miami and finally Providenciales. Due to the delay, we didn’t arrive until late evening of March 5th as opposed to midday. A whole day, wasted! Thanks a lot United Airways!

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Morning came and all our troubles went away. What a beautiful, amazing place!

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For this trip, we bought an underwater camera that was also perfect for vlogging. I invite you to watch our video and check out our adventures in Turks & Caicos!

It is easy to see why Grace Bay is one of the prettiest beaches in the world. In addition, Club Med has the widest, cleanest, and nicest spread of beach on Grace Bay – definitely a winner!

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Crystal clear, turquoise waters at the perfect temperature. We spent many hours of every day in the calm peaceful ocean.

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The perfect summary to our holiday:

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Club Med Turkoise has the usual array of included activities such as tennis, basketball, and trapeze. What won our hearts? All the water sports!

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Sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, and paddle boarding… we tried to as many water activities in a day as possible.

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Snorkelling was twice a day and great! We even brought our own snorkels and masks but their provided equipment is pretty decent as well!

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So many things to do!

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Sailing quickly became a new favourite hobby. And we didn’t capsize once!

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The food was also great! The main buffet restaurant, Grace Bay Restaurant, was where we ate most of our meals. A repeating breakfast and lunch spread throughout the week but enough variety to keep us happy. For dinner, there was a different theme every night. We love food and there is definitely enough choices and something for everyone. Our favourite? Their famous white chocolate bread! Yum!

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The social aspect of Club Med is one of its main appeals. Most dining tables fit 6 people so you will always meet new people at meals (if not during the day). We met a variety of interesting and wonderful people!

They also haveΒ a reservation-only a la carte restaurant, Lucayan. We lined up to secure a table but were incredibly disappointed. The atmosphere is nice and it was really good to have a private meal with just the two of us, however, the food simply did not measure up to our expectations.

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Lastly, they have Sharkie’s Bar – one of our favourite spots to hang out in the afternoon. Simple menu with the best chicken burgers and fries. Food, drinks and fun live entertainment – what more do you want?

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Perfect beach for nice long walks πŸ™‚

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Gorgeous sunrises and beautiful sunsets… every day!

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Sunrise from our room!

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Enjoyed numerous sunsets on the beach

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Did I mention the local beer, Turks Head, is pretty tasty? πŸ˜›

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Last night on Turks and Caicos and one year anniversary of our engagement! How tanned we were by the end of our vacation!

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Couldn’t get enough and look forward to the opportunity to return! Thanks for an amazing time Club Med Turkoise!