Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

I’m Still Here

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

This last weekend was made up of four glorious days of non-work. I have come to appreciate my weekends so much more now that I have a 9 to 5 job and I’m not my own very relaxed, ‘yeah sure you can have a really long lunch’ boss. Weekends don’t come fast enough and then they disappear before you know it. Cruel, cruel world.

Work has evolved once again and I am currently working four days a week filling roles in the Community Engagement, Communications, Cultural Services, Administration and Communications (again) departments at the Subiaco Council. I am waiting to be asked to act as Mayor for the day. I spend my fifth day and most of my evenings writing for my clients in the UK. It is definitely appealing to my scatty brain to be working in so many different areas at one time.

Today was the first time in two months that I wasn’t able to eat my lunch outside in the sunshine in a park next to the council. The Easter rain arrived a few days late and it completely ruined my lunch time Vitamin-D ritual. It is still a novelty for me to be able to go outside and be 1. warm and 2. not wet. Alas, winter is on its way.

Blue skies over the Swan River

Blue skies over the Swan River

Good news – the Easter Bunny came. Perhaps thanks to the fact that I am one of the oldest children still living at home with their parents in the world, that chocolate-producing rabbit still managed to find me and leave a trail of… well… poop to a delicious dark chocolate Lindt bunny. Cheers, mate.

Follow the trail!

Follow the trail!

My cousin, Sophie, got married on Sunday so it was a weekend of kitchen teas, dresses, and tears of joy. It was lovely to be able to spend a lot of time with my family, especially the few hours that I spent with my close girl cousins, helping Sophie get ready. It was nice to be in the same country and be part of a family celebration for once, as the last few years I have usually been on the other side of the world.

Apart from that, my adventures in Perth have come to a standstill and largely involve my house, work and my grandma’s house. I am looking forward to two weeks of showing Sir Pubert where I went to primary school, which spiders are actually dangerous and which supermarket I like to go to. I bet he’s excited, too.

I’m Contemplating Becoming a Monk

Friday, October 17th, 2014

I have visited a few monasteries in my life and life as a monk doesn’t seem so bad. You get to garden a lot, the time for silence and reflection means you don’t have to listen to annoying people, and you get to live in a seriously awesome building. I suspect my gender and my hesitancy to commit to religious practise means my two years living at Les Récollets, an ex-13th century convent, in Paris is most likely the closest I will ever get to my new life goal. That’s a shame. So instead I will simply continue to visit this spectacular buildings and make the most of the tranquility while I am there.

On one of my first days in Manchester, I was catching a train into Piccadilly station with my cousin, Caroline. She pointed out a beautiful old building through the window and said that it was a monastery that had been done up and was now used for concerts and events. The monastery sat in the back of my mind as a place that I should go and visit and when Sir Pubert Gladstone mentioned that there was a beautiful monastery in the middle of one Manchester’s dodgier suburbs, I put two and two together. I had found myself a chauffeur.

So let’s talk about Gorton. I asked my friend, Jon (Garden Boy), to tell me his thoughts on Gorton. I figured an opinion from a local would hold far more value than my outsider thoughts. Here’s what he had to say:

“Gorton is predominantly social housing, burnt out cars and a really minute amount of incredible architecture. There is a unusual phenomenon of people collecting ‘potentially valuable objects’ in their front yard. There are piles of sofas and general junk that they hope might one day be worth something.

It is the one part of Manchester that even the people from the roughest parts of Manchester have an innate fear of visiting.

There are areas of waste land that no one has dared venture into for over 50 years due purely to a deeply imbedded fear.

Jon did one have positive thing to say about Gorton.

Gorton Tub was the one swimming pool in Manchester with slides. The nearest one for a hundred miles. It was probably closed down due to some sort of horrible event.

I think that and these Multiple Deprivation statistics showing Gorton as being ranked 407 out of 32,482 in England, where one is the most deprived and 32,482 the least, highlight that Gorton isn’t high on the ‘must visit’ list. According to Wikipedia, in 2006 it also had the highest number of uninsured cars in the country.

So who would have thought, that nestled amongst the deprivation and bingo centres, there would be a Franciscan monastery? Built between 1863 and 1872, the monastery was listed on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World and received a £6.5million upgrade.

Gorton monastery

A lovely piece of architecture.

Sir Pubert and I visited the monastery on Sunday during its limited public opening hours. It was like someone had stuck the Disney castle in the middle of a war zone. Surreal yet beautiful. Having visited a lot of rejuvenated buildings during my travels, the Gorton Monastery has received some of the best upgrades that I have seen. Thought has been taken to ensure the building is functional but also retains its original essence. There is a central courtyard garden that has that instant calming affect that gardens inside large religious buildings tend to have. You step outside and automatically feel at peace with the world. It was lovely.

Gorton monastery

The courtyard garden

The monastery is now the location for concerts, weddings and courses and is hired out for private functions. I’m not one of those girls who is secretly planning her perfect wedding, but even I have to admit to thinking that it would be a great venue to get hitched in. But I just looked at the prices and I’ve stopped thinking that.

Gorton monastery

They even managed to make pink LEDs look good.

So for anyone planning a trip to Gorton, definitely pop the monastery on the list of things to see. I’d say it is the #1 highlight of the area, now that Gorton Tub has been closed down.

Dancing Badly at Weddings is OK.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

I spent the weekend in sunny Devon where the sun really did shine and there really were Devonshire teas. Slight warmth and scones make Jess a very happy girl. The purpose of my trip was to provide emotional support and additional hands to my friends, Pooja and Jonathan, who were having Round 2 of their three part wedding. Already hitched in Harrogate a few months ago, they were now bringing together their friends and family from all over the world to eat cornish pasties and samosas in a Westward Ho! golf club.

As most wedding receptions seem to go, there were drinks followed by food followed by the establishment of a fairly ordinary dance floor. We are talking portable disco lights and a music playlist Pooja and I had thrown together that morning being controlled from an iPad. It was quality stuff, and so was the dancing.

On the dance floors of weddings anything goes. Arms flail, feet step and bodies bounce somewhat in time to all your favourite dance hits from the 80s, 90s and today. You are free to express yourself and let yourself go without being judged because everyone else looks just as ridiculous as you. You can’t get away with this sort of shoddy dancing at a night club or concert because there people really are watching. At a wedding, the positive vibes of love and marriage bring an over riding power that allows you to do no wrong. If you feel a sudden urge to body pump, go right ahead and do it. Half of the dance floor will mostly likely join in and body pump with you.

As you would most likely expect, the dance floor on the weekend was 90 per cent female. The occasional male was dragged out to dance, kicking and screaming, giving in for one song before running back to the other blokes who stood around smirking. There were, however, token men who took hold of the opportunity to be surrounded by twelve dancing ladies and who ruled the dance floor with charm and smooth moves. A tip for all of the men of the world – if you want to have well dressed females throwing themselves at you, learn to dance.

After two hours of toe-tapping, spirit-fingering and hip-shaking, my fellow dancers and I were now all the best of friends and have added each other on Facebook in the hope we will meet on a dance floor in the near future. There is an unexplainable bond that forms on a dance floor that cannot be achieved anywhere else. When you have communally sung loudly and tunelessly and made up ridiculous dance steps to classic 80s tunes, nothing can break that.

So to my new friends that I met on Saturday night in Westward Ho!, thank you for the good times. May one of our mutual friends get married soon so that we can meet and get our groove on once again.

Flying Visit

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Sincere apologies everyone. I have been particularly slack with my entries lately due to many factors – mostly just laziness. But I have been very busy with weddings, family visits, trips to Spain and then packing my bag once again to fly home to Australia. I am currently filling in time before I venture to the airport to stand in lines and wait and wait and wait until I can then get on a plane and wait and wait and wait some more. What fun awaits!!

I am heading home for two and a half weeks to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It isn’t every day that someone special turns the big Nine-Zero so a plane flight across the world is worth it. However I am currently wishing teleportation had been developed to a much greater extent so that I could avoid the next 24 hours. I should probably stop complaining and be grateful that it is possible for me to fly home… Nar.

So a quick catch up on things I promised I’d write to you about but never have.

Did I find a dress?

The answer to whether or not my shopping adventures before my cousin’s wedding resulted in the WORLD’S BEST DRESS is both yes and no. No, I didn’t find an amazing dress that was stylish, sexy and slightly ‘unique’ which was quite disappointing. None of the general fashion stores in Paris seemed to have ‘wedding appropriate dresses’. However, at the wedding I discovered that most of the Parisian attendees were less formally dressed than the foreign guests.

I did, however, find a dress that was ON SALE at Esprit (Esprit never fails me) that I wore on the Friday to Freya and Mark’s civil ceremony. It wasn’t what I was looking for but it filled a need that I didn’t even know existed. Clearly it was some sort of sign that I what I really needed was a new dress for the civil ceremony and that I should wear my trusty blue (and super cool) dress to the wedding. And so I did.

The wedding was wonderful with the catholic ceremony held in St Clothilde basilica. The basilica was just astonishing – a huge space with beautiful stained glass windows and light grey stone. The sun came at the end of the ceremony, just in time for photos and an apero in the garden of the Maison d’Amerique Latine. The reception was a lot of fun and absolutely delicious with great food and matching wines and it was so lovely to spend time with my Dutch family. A wonderful, wonderful evening.

For those of you who are interested, you can see photographs of the wedding (and my dresses) on my flickr site.

Did my new printer cartridge work?

Yes, thank goodness.

Was the Guggenheim as awesome as I hoped it would be?

Yes. It sure was. In fact, it was beyond amazing. There have been a few moments in my life where I have felt my jaw drop and then a big, tooth-filled smile spread across my face as I realise what I am seeing. Seeing Times Square for the first time at dusk was one of those moments, and now I can add driving into Bilbao and seeing Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum as another. I spent the weekend in Spain and most of Saturday wandering around and through the Guggenheim museum and was completely overwhelmed at how much I loved the space. And then to discover that one of my favourite installations – work by Richard Serra – filled the largest gallery in the building made me literally jump for joy. It was an eye opening and inspirational experience and I came away from it full of excitement about how maybe one day I will be somehow working in a space like that – either as an artist or as part of the gallery staff.

Did I eat good food and drink good wine in Spain?

You bet I did. I was a little disappointed with some of the things I ate but I put this down to my inability to communicate, my dislike for mushed up seafood (lots of the pintxos included this in some form), and my lack of confidence at entering very busy and clearly social places on my own. Eating in Spain is a very communal thing and I felt quite alone when it came to dinner time. However, I got by and managed to have a few conversations and was offered some fried peppers from one friendly couple. But my memories of the food in Madrid are still calling to me and Bilbao didn’t quite match up. That’s ok – it just means I need to go back and try again.

And for those of you with some time on your hands, why not look at my 341 photos of Bilbao and San Sebastian? I can promise you lots of images of the Guggenheim, food and Jesus.

Have I finished packing? 

Not quite. I should do this. And then get some lunch and then go to the airport. So next time you hear from me I will be upside down in the southern hemisphere, joining my fellow Perthians complaining about the weather. Oh, meanwhile yesterday in Paris it reached a rather impressive 33 degrees. It was hot. Everyone was complaining.

L’Amour à Paris

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I have exciting days ahead of me full of family, food and most likely lots of fun. Saturday is the wedding of my mum’s cousin’s daughter (still with me?) and so lots of my dutch family are heading to Paris from Holland. Luckily for me, the wedding is in Paris so I don’t have to go anywhere. Hoorah!

I am also honoured to have been invited to Freya and Mark’s civil ceremony on Friday, because just like everything in France, one wedding isn’t enough and you HAVE to have two. Ok, that’s not completely true, but you must go through the boring, administrative civil wedding at your local town hall and it is up to you whether or not you want to have a nice party and/or a church service. Seeing as most people like an excuse to eat food, drink wine and dance the night away, most couples fork out money for two events. Suddenly the single life is looking deliciously inexpensive.

Anyway, over the next few days random people from my extended family will be arriving in Paris, something that makes me very happy as I love family and these are some of the members that I don’t get to see very often. There will be my mum’s cousins, their children, my Grandma’s sister, and my great-half-uncle and my almost-great-half-aunt-in-law. This makes for very complicated introductions when you have to try and explain how we are all related.

The other thing I am excited about is the food (WHAT A SURPRISE!). Knowing Freya and Mark the food at the wedding is going to be fantastic and plus there are additional family dinner gatherings on the days before and after the wedding that will involve more food consumption. I am preparing my stomach in advance. Last night was the first of these dinners at a restaurant that is on a barge on the Seine – Café Barge. The exterior of the boat could do with a lick of paint but clearly they spent all of their money doing up the inside. There were fluorescent pink lights, plastic pink and silver glitter chairs and on the walls were murals with images of Marilyn Munro and Elvis. At one end of the boat was a ‘dance’ zone with disco lights that was being occupied by a group of international business people, clearly all trying to network while surrounded by mirror balls. Amusing.

Café Barge chair

It’s… pink.

However, despite all of this I have realised this morning that I have disastrously overlooked a very important fact. This will most likely be the single wedding that I will ever have the occasion of attending in Paris – the city of fashion and style – and therefore my one opportunity to wear a dress that is down-right FANTASTIC. Up until this morning I had been planning on wearing one of the two dresses I own, depending on the weather and my mood for the day but I realise this could be a wasted opportunity! How can I settle for a dress I already own when I could go and buy a new one? Sure, money. But as I mentioned before, the wedding is in Paris and I therefore don’t have to travel to Holland OR Australia and I am therefore saving money! I should really spend that on a new dress. And a new bag (this one is a necessity. My current plastic, water proof, go anywhere, fit anything bag isn’t really wedding-friendly.) And potentially a hat (I made a new friend last night who is wearing a hat to the wedding. This sounds like a GREAT idea.) So to the shops it is! Luckily, whenever I am searching for something in particular I can never find it and therefore I will return home this evening empty handed and I will wear one of my two perfectly nice dresses. But in the words of Daryl Somers, you never ever know if you never ever go (to the shops).

Happy Extra Day!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

It’s the 29th of February! There is something exciting about having an additional day in the year and I am pleased that February gets to catch up to those other months with their larger number of days. Poor February misses out three quarters of the time. Pauvre Février. I’m sure there will be lots of girls dropping to their knees on top of the Eiffel Tower today as they grab the opportunity to snare themselves a husband. Don’t climb any towers today, boys.

Going South

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I appear to have reached a stage in my life where everyone is getting married or at least announcing their engagement, although I am trying to ignore this fact because I am definitely not old enough for this to be happening. Gosh no. I’m practically a teenager.

I spent this past weekend in Denmark, five-ish hours south of Perth, celebrating the marriage of my friends Danielle and Ryan. The weekend was lovely as I caught up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while, drank plenty of good wine (yes, Australian wine IS good, all of you French-wine-is-the-best-snobs), and ate lots of good food. I got a bit teary eyed watching my beautiful friend, Dan, walk down the aisle and become a Mrs. It appears Paris may have made me a romantic after all.

One of the highlights of the weekend was dinner with my friends Velia and Alex at Pepper & Salt, a restaurant attached to the Mathilda’s Estate winery. The food, while priced at your now average Perth prices (i.e. ridiculous), was absolutely delicious with locally sourced ingredients and an interesting mix of flavours. I had pink snapper that was lightly battered with a hint of lemon myrtle, homemade chips and a decent salad. This satisfied my craving for fish and chips while being light and not horribly greasy.

Fish and chips from Pepper & Salt

Fancy fish and chips.

The highlight of the meal was dessert (of course). You can imagine my extreme excitement when our lovely waiter described our dessert options and said the words “Flourless, dark chocolate torte with pepper and chilli”. HOLY MOLY. It was good. It was dark, rich and the pepper made the chocolate buzz. It was served with a piece of chocolate through which were crunchy chucks of pepper. The berries served on the side had been stewed in what I presumed was port and added another dimension to the dish. I was extremely satisfied and very happy to wash it down with a rich, bold Shiraz from the Mathilda’s vineyard.

Chocolate torte

Chocolate and spice

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