Christmas Eve Traditions

December 24, 2014

For a few years now, since my dad passed away, our family has spent Christmas Eve with my grandparents. My mom usually has a turkey roasting in the oven during the day, we prepare side dishes, and after evening mass at church, we haul all the food over and enjoy a full turkey dinner at our grandparents’.

And this year was no different!

The turkey and some of the food

IMG_6108

IMG_6111

My mom always makes extra stuffing on the side, with walnuts and cranberries, mmm.

IMG_6114

Buttering up some rolls!

IMG_6120

Perhaps my love for photography takes after my grandpa, who you will find always snapping photos at every opportunity, documenting moments with family to revisit time after time.

IMG_6123

Carving the turkey

IMG_6127

Family pictures!

IMG_6128

IMG_6130

Having a first taste of the lime and banana liqueur my grandpa made. This was a recipe from his sister in Vietnam, where my mom and I had the opportunity to try some last year!

IMG_6132

Beautiful colour and clarity. Great flavour and not too sweet, yum!

IMG_6134

The other tradition we’ve developed is to take family photos on Christmas Eve.

Here are this year’s photos!

My sister with her turtle, Franklin.

IMG_9159

The ‘proper’ photo

IMG_9170

And what usually happens when we take family photos

IMG_9171

Happy New Year… of the Horse!

IMG_9174

Sisters.

IMG_9176

Franklin kept trying to escape from me.

IMG_9179

But would always lie perfectly still for my sister!

IMG_9188

Whether your Christmas Eve was festive or simple and relaxing, I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed it!

Random recent moments

As I mentioned in the last post, I haven’t done much in the last 3 weeks but there are a few things to share!

My dear friend Amanda gifted me with lovely chocolate covered sultanas by Melba’s and a bottle of Chenin Blanc (Coriole Vineyards), both presents from South Australia. The chocolates are rich, smooth and delicious and of the course, the wine was very tasty. She even wrote a really touching note… just because she’s an awesome friend and is always thinking of other people. 🙂

IMG_5526

Having some of the chocolates and salted cashews = winning snack.

IMG_0742

Craving for Korean food led us back to our usual spot – Madtongsan II for dinner on Oct 16!

IMG_0699

Oct 19 – Could not resist the great lunch specials at Wagaya. Went for my new favourite dish, tonkotsu ramen, so delicious! Even comes with dumplings and an amazing bowl of fried rice!

IMG_0713

For dessert, we chose to share the green tea cheese cake with green tea ice cream. Have been wanting to try this for a while but probably not worth getting again.

IMG_0714

Mike’s squishing me! Long but fun and extremely worthwhile days in hospital this rotation. But sooo tired when we finally get home, not much studying gets done.

IMG_0720

Yoni was in town from Nambour and staying with us Oct 19-20. We went to see Gravity which was good, although I was glad we didn’t see the 3D version because I think I would’ve gotten motion sickness. And we never go without food! My favourite wedges from Beastie Burgers and burritos from Guzman y Gomez, yummy picnic!

IMG_5531

IMG_5536

IMG_5534

I ordered a few BB Cream replacements recently, and look at all the amazing samples I received! All well known Korean brands too… can’t wait to try some of these out, especially the Ice Mask!

IMG_5551

Boiled quail eggs with some salt and pepper – delicious snack!

IMG_0724

How do you cut a pineapple? This is how I learned from my mom, least amount of pineapple wastage!

IMG_0753

Yummy! Honeydew melon with pineapple and lychee – can’t go wrong!

IMG_5547

Tried frozen yoghurt for the first time not too long ago – how delicious! Biscotti and coconut pandan flavour with fruits – yum!

IMG_0702

A new favourite in our house, basil & blueberry gin and tonic – try it! Very tasty 🙂

IMG_0716

Home made food update? Here are a few things!

Crispy oven baked sweet potato fries

IMG_5540

Creamy mushroom soup – delightful!

IMG_5544

More mango sticky rice with coconut cream, mmm

IMG_0741

Vegetarian pasta salad with Greek yoghurt based dressing

IMG_5524

Pear cupcakes with passionfruit icing for the students in my group

IMG_0745

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing as thank you gifts for my med team.

IMG_5557

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 01

September 18, 2013

During this vacation, I did something I’ve never done before: I went camping!

Big thanks to Mike for the awesome first experience! Being an avid camper, he had everything we needed to make the trip as smooth as possible 😀

Our destination had long been recommended by numerous friends and boy were we glad we finally went! STRADBROKE ISLAND – definitely would visit again!

Getting to the island was incredibly easy and convenient, making us both really wished we’d gone earlier. Take the train out to Cleveland, hop on the complimentary bus out to the dock and on to the ferry! Ferry price is $15 return for students, pretty good! Once we arrived on the island (Dunwich), the island bus was waiting and it cost an additional $2.50 to get to our camping ground, too easy!

On the way there!

IMG_5214

Here is a map of Stradbroke Island so you can see the places I have mentioned and will be talking about in this post.

NSI-Map

We decided to camp at an unpowered site at Adder Rock for $28/night. Being low season, we got our pick of camping sites and decided to camp along Flinders Beach. Camping on the beach, what could be better right? They even had all the amenities we could need, including cooking and toilet facilities. From Adder Rock, we hiked East along the coast, scampering over rocks and walking through kilometers of pristine beaches all the way to Main Beach.

Setting up camp

IMG_5215

Done! Our home for the next 2 days

IMG_5233

… with the awesome beach view

IMG_5230

Settled in and having lunch! Yes, Mike has a portable stove, pots and pans, and everything! Sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, strawberries… yum!

IMG_5227

First selfie of the trip!

IMG_5228

After lunch we headed out to explore North Stradbroke Island.

We started with walking along the roads where we passed by a skatepark.

IMG_5243

IMG_5234

IMG_5238

We sooned turned off the road to walk along the beach instead. First up, Home Beach (refer to map above!)

IMG_5245

IMG_5248

IMG_5253

IMG_5257

IMG_5260

IMG_5262

IMG_5263

IMG_5264

Beaches were pretty much empty except for a few families scattered here and there

IMG_5266

We’ve reached Cylinder Beach! One of the few places to swim with lifeguards.

IMG_5269

IMG_5273

Beautiful Cylinder Beach

IMG_5274

IMG_5275

IMG_5277

Leaving Cylinder Beach…

IMG_5281

IMG_5282

Mike taking a break

IMG_5283

IMG_5284a

Looking back at Cylinder Beach

IMG_5285

Looking ahead to Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5288

We saw a manta ray cruising underwater while taking a break!

IMG_5293

Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5294

Really interesting to the see the variations in volcanic rock formations and colours as you go from beach to beach.

IMG_5303

Frenchman’s Bay!

IMG_5304

IMG_5305

IMG_5307

Heading up to the road because you couldn’t really continue onward by the beach

IMG_5309

Looking back down at Frenchman’s Bay

IMG_5312

IMG_5323

As we walked along the road to the Gorge Walk, we saw humpback whales! Unfortunately, they were really far out!

IMG_5325

IMG_5326

IMG_5317

The beautiful Gorge Walk!

Breathtaking North Gorge

IMG_5333d

IMG_5333b

IMG_5339

IMG_5340

We really kept our eye out for dolphins and sharks, but only saw sea turtles and manta rays unfortunately. Still amazing though!

IMG_5335

IMG_5337

IMG_5354

IMG_5359

IMG_5362

IMG_5343

IMG_5346

View of South Gorge and further ahead, Main Beach!

IMG_5365

Endless Main Beach as far as the eye can see!

IMG_5366

We didn’t swim at all today. Decided that we would hike the coast again tomorrow and go swimming and visit Main Beach then. With that we headed back, returning to Adder Rock just missing the sunset! Boo, but that’s okay, we’ll make sure to catch it tomorrow!

IMG_5371

Getting a fire going… just because 🙂

IMG_5375

Smoked out a huntsman spider!

IMG_5380

Easy dinner! With wine, fruit and other snacks on the side.

IMG_5381

We retired to our tent early with our headlamps and spent the night playing Monopoly Deal Card Game (thanks for that Vy!) and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. Good end to our first day.

Life randoms :)

A few pictures here and there over the past month or so!

First time meeting Mike’s friend from Halifax – Chelsea and her boyfriend, Dave! Also an opportunity to catch up with Nicole and to meet her friend visiting from Canada – Winston. Meeting new friends and enjoying good food in the rain – fish and chips at Swampdog! Lovely time guys!

Left to right: Dave, Chelsea, Nicole, Mike, me, Winston

IMG_5204

Can you see why I stock up on cue cards from Dollarama when I’m back in Canada during the holidays? Look at the cost, the cost!!

IMG_0519

Passed by this and loved the cracks in the pillars!

IMG_0504

After a fun morning of badminton with Xuan, Yung and Chloe, we enjoyed yummy dim sum at Yum Cha Cuisine – newly opened in Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. Definitely worth a return visit 😉

IMG_5275

IMG_5273

Are those fuzzy things… alive?

IMG_0526

Walked by a bush with lovely small pink flowers.

IMG_0529

Free Despicable Me 2 memory games from McDonald’s! Mike and I used to compete with each other on the iPad with a similar game. Now we can play together like little kids! 😀

IMG_5321

Guys, remember when mint M&Ms were just regular looking M&Ms that had mint chocolate? Not anymore! Now with a minty candy coat with a green crisp interior!

IMG_5324

I have FINALLY invested in a real pair of sunglasses. No longer will I be purchasing $5-10 cheap sunnies and be developing cataracts!

IMG_5331

I saw a tunnel spider web today at the train station 🙂

IMG_0554

And lastly, an old one from our last trip to Vietnam with my mum. Iced milk coffee… love the swirls!

IMG_0530

Photoblog Update! :)

Hey everyone, hope Monday is treating you well!

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve recently updated my blog with a little over 40 new photos. If you read my blog regularly, then many will be familiar but with the added feature of awesomely unique not so creative titles! Woo hoo!

Please check out my photoblog HERE!

And please feel free to leave comments to let me know what you think!

Thanks guys and have an awesome week! 😀