Sunday, December 15, 2013

Engagement Party

We celebrated our engagement last weekend with a casual picnic style party with a bunch of our friends and family. We decided to hold the party in Newcastle and were fortunate to be able to use a lovely common park area near my sister's place (also where Ben and I used to live). This meant we had free venue hire which saved us a lot of money. We were blessed with perfect sunny weather which made for a beautiful afternoon/evening of celebrations.

My wonderful friend Linda helped me with the styling/decorations and kindly lent me a lot of her props, including some beautiful picnic baskets, rugs, bunting and the beautiful drink dispensers for our beverage table. I chose the drinks (Pimm's, pink lemonade and water with lemon and mint) and bought all the ingredients, cups, straws etc but it would not have turned out so well without Linda's creativity and attention to detail.
For the food, we decided to put together 10 picnic baskets full of goodies for people to share. They contained cheeses, crackers, dips, chocolates, fruit, nuts, jams/fruit paste and fresh bread. I had heaps of fun buying various things to put in the baskets, such as wooden cutlery, paper plates, mini jars for jams etc. Most of it I bought at two dollar shops! Ben had his own bar too (not pictured) with a few different types of tap kings (beer in a mini keg thing). We also had wine and champagne aplenty.

We had a few games set up for people to play - darts, ring toss/quoits and boules. My mum and Ben's mum made cardboard bunting and asked us to write 10 things about ourselves and 10 things we love about each other, which they then wrote on the bunting and hung around the park. It was a good conversation starter and quite funny to read what each other had written.

Ben's grandma made our engagement cake - a delicious mud cake. It was so good. Ben's mum decorated it with fresh flowers and cute paper bunting. I was so happy with how it turned out!
It was a really lovely afternoon and so nice to see so many of our friends and family who we don't see very often. It was also great to introduce some of our Sydney friends to our families and other friends from various places. We feel so loved and excited about our wedding next year! Thanks to all of the special people for helping us celebrate and pitching in to make it such a nice party.

Special thanks to my brother Sam and our friend Ian for some of these photos.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wedding Update

Well the whole 'now I have a laptop I can blog again' thing didn't really go as planned! I could try and come up with some kind of excuse or go on about being 'busy' but in reality, I probably could have spent less time stalking former Big Brother contestants on Instagram and Twitter and more time blogging.

Anyway! The wedding plans are coming together - we've locked in our date, venues and photographer and I'm currently looking into florists. We're getting married on 4/10/2014 which is actually a palindromic date (4102014...geddit?)! We actually didn't plan it that way but it's pretty cool. That's the long weekend and probably one of the most popular weekends to get married on, hence the need to plan things quickly!

We've chosen a beautiful old church in Hamilton (Newcastle) for our ceremony and will be married by the minister from our parents' church (both our parents go to church together). He's a good friend of both of our families and a really down to earth, funny and personable guy. The reception will be held at the Newcastle Museum in their awesome event space. It's a beautiful room with exposed bricks and lovely arched windows. Very industrial but also kind of rustic. Oh, and I've also booked our chairs which I'm probably more excited about than I should be. But they're awesome chairs!

I've been using Pinterest a lot which is a life saver. Seriously, how did people organise weddings before it existed? I kiiiind of have an idea of the type of dress I want, but I haven't tried any on yet so I will have to wait and see. My amazingly talented friend Linda will be our wedding stylist and we're already having heaps of fun sharing ideas.

But first, we've got our engagement party in a few weeks and I seriously cannot wait! It's going to be a blast.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back in business

Hooray! I'm back! After over a month without a laptop I can finally blog again thanks to purchasing a shiny new Windows Surface tablet. I know what you're thinking, it's not Apple (shock horror!), but this thing is seriously awesome. It has all the convenient features of a tablet but is basically a very powerful laptop as well. I can even draw on photos as it comes with a digital pen thingy. You can expect lots of that in the future.

Anyway! Life is pretty awesome at the moment. We're busy planning for our engagement party in just over a month and have even locked in a date and venue for our wedding. It's going to be on 4/10/2014 (which we just discovered is the same backwards - how cool!) in Newcastle. Feels so good to have that locked in already.

My new job is keeping me busy but I'm settling in and enjoying the challenge.

Now that I can blog whenever the heck I want, I'll be back soon to share some wedding inspiration and a few sneak peeks. Yay!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life Update

Greetings internet. Is anybody out there?

I just wanted to pop in and say hello. When I gave up my old job I also gave up my laptop. It belonged to work and they kindly let me use it for personal stuff as well. I miss it terribly! So until I save up for one of my own this little old blog might be a bit quiet. I'm currently on Ben's computer which is quite literally a MACHINE.
Anyway, life's been busy but good. I'm a week and a half into the new job and while the days are long (largely due to more travel, the hours are quite good so far) I'm really enjoying it. Working right by Circular Quay is amazing, especially with the good weather we've been having. It's so awesome to be able to pop down to the water or grab a baguette and a macaron at the French cafe at The Rocks during my lunch break. I'm finally starting to feel at home in Sydney - it's only taken two and a half years! We also have an incredible view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from our office. I try and act cool like I don't care but secretly I'm super excited.
It was really sad finishing up at my old job. They made me feel extremely loved with a special farewell afternoon tea (complete with a table of cheeses!), a huge indoor picnic lunch, a bunch of gorgeous flowers, an Asos gift voucher and an incredibly special photo book full of sweet farewell messages from the team. I'm so grateful for the experience and everything I learnt while working there. The fact that I was able to make some great friends at the same time is truly awesome. I'm going to do my best to stay in touch with everyone and so far so good.
On the wedding front, we've been investigating our options for holding it up in our home town of Tamworth. It's now starting to sink in just how much is involved in planning a wedding but I'm going to try and enjoy it as much as possible. My ring had to be resized so I've been without it for almost two weeks now. Thankfully I'm picking it up tomorrow! The separation anxiety has been intense ;) We're also organising our engagement party and hoping to have that before the end of the year. I'm really excited to celebrate with our family and friends!

We have a long weekend coming up and Ben and are I joining our parents at the Central Coast for a few nights. We'll be camping by the beach and I'm super keen for some lazy days in the sun. I hope you're well wherever you might be!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


What started out as a pretty ordinary weekend turned into one I will never forget! After eight and a half years, Ben decided to pop the question!! Oh, and I said yes :)

The story of how it all went down is kind of funny. Ben had a big night on Friday night and slept in while I went out for an early morning trip to the markets. He was still in bed when I got home so I spent the next few hours doing chores. When Ben got up we cooked breakfast like we do most weekends. It was pretty much how we would spend any Saturday. We watched a few TV shows and were generally just hanging out. Earlier in the day I checked the mail and we had received an invitation to Ben's cousin's wedding. Ben made a comment that everyone was getting married (we've got two weddings to go to before the end of the year) and I replied with something like 'I'll probably have to wait until I'm 30'. Oops, sorry babe! And by the way, that wouldn't have been the end of the world (maybe...hehe). So I guess it's safe to say that marriage was on the mind. Still, I really didn't expect what happened next! 

I took a nap on the couch and after I woke up, Ben came and sat down with me. He seemed to be acting strangely and started saying stuff like he wanted me to have a good story to tell our kids (about how we got engaged). I told him I really didn't care how it happened and I had told him a few times before that if it happened in the kitchen while we were in our pyjamas that would be totally okay with me. Ben suddenly went all quiet then got up and said 'I can't wait any longer'. He went into our bedroom and I started to realise what was happening. He walked out with a ring, got down on his knee and asked me to marry him! It is all a bit of a blur and I actually don't recall whether I said yes when he asked me. I just grabbed the ring and put it on and hugged him! He then said 'Wait, you said yes right?' haha. I'm honestly so glad it happened how it did. I've never wanted it to be a big deal and I think it was more of a surprise this way as if he had taken me out for dinner somewhere fancy I would have definitely known something was up! Ben had been so worried about how he was going to ask me but the fact that he couldn't wait makes it even more special. I still think it's a pretty good story, too.

We immediately called my parents to tell them the news. They had had an agonising week since Ben had asked my Dad his permission when we were in Tamworth last weekend. They knew it was coming but didn't know when. Mum and Dad were having lunch with some of our relatives so it was nice to be able to share it with a lot of loved ones at once! We then told Ben's parents (who also knew it was coming), my pop and Ben's nan, our siblings and a few of our friends. My best friend Jess had the best reaction. She was so excited I couldn't understand what she was saying! We then made it Facebook official, as you do! Luckily we had an unopened bottle of champagne in the kitchen so we popped that to celebrate and spent most of the afternoon messaging friends and trying to calm down (well that was me, anyway). We ordered Thai for dinner and had that delivered. By about 9pm we were both exhausted and went to bed early. Too much excitement for one day!
This morning we went out for coffee and I had my nails done (only natural when I'm gonna be showing a lot of people my hand, right?). We then headed over to the Grounds of Alexandria for a celebratory lunch. Despite having to wait an hour and a half for a table, it was an awesome way to celebrate. Any other day I would have been annoyed but we were in such good moods that it didn't matter! Plus, we killed time by sampling lots of different treats which were on sale at various stalls throughout the gardens. The food was excellent and I'm glad I finally got to take Ben there.

Admittedly, my mind has already gone into overdrive thinking about all the possibilities and things to plan. I need to settle down before I become bridezilla! I've got my last week at work this week before I start my new job and I need to get settled there before I start going too nuts with the planning. Crazy times ahead!

I'm absolutely over the moon at the thought of marrying my high school sweet heart and feeling so blessed with the knowledge that we have an amazing future together (plus I get to wear a beautiful's so perfect).

I thought I'd also share a few photos from my trip to the flower markets with my friend Kristine yesterday morning. I can sense a few more trips will be on the cards soon!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Season of Change

They say that Spring is full of new beginnings and that has certainly been the case for me. Two weeks from today I'll be starting a new job as Communications Officer with the British Consulate here in Sydney.

I've done a lot of thinking about whether it's the right thing to do. Overall I've been really happy in my current job. It's given me so many amazing opportunities and I've learnt so much. Plus, I couldn't have asked for better people to work with. It's the people that have made my decision tougher - they're an awesome team and also great friends. I was so nervous about breaking the news to them, but everyone has been so supportive and excited for me. Plus, I have no doubt that we'll stay friends and have plenty of adventures in Sydney in the future.

I'm ready for a new challenge and to learn some new things. Ever since working for the Australian Consulate in NYC I've had an interest in that kind of work, so when I saw the role advertised I knew I should at least apply. I'm excited for this new phase of my life in Sydney. Everything's looking up, Millhouse.

Meanwhile, I spent a lovely weekend at home in the country with my family. I've managed to come down with a cold, but hopefully all the amazingly nutritious meals I've eaten over the last few days will put me on the mend quick smart! Seriously, my Mum is an amazing cook. Plus, I got breakfast in bed on Sunday! So spoilt. Hope your weekend was dandy. xo

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


1. Lots of early morning visits to the city of late. Meetings galore!
2. Visited Newcastle again on the weekend and paid a visit to the antique shop down the road from my old place. So many temptations, but I walked away empty handed.
3. Coffee in the sun on the weekend. How cool is my sister's little coffee table? She covered it in the awesome Frida Kahlo fabric then lacquered it up.
4. Say hello to Benny the pup! My sister and her boyfriend recently adopted him from the animal rescue and I was super stoked to meet him this weekend! Such a friendly little dude.
5. A big shout out to my amazing Dad for Father's Day which was this past Sunday in Australia. Can't wait to see you next weekend! We're both rocking awesome hair styles there.

I hope everyone has been super well. Happy Spring to my pals Down Under!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Signs of Spring

It is an absolutely glorious day in Sydney today, with a high of 23 degrees and not a cloud to be seen. While this Winter has been quite mild, I'm still incredibly excited that Spring is only a few days away.

I'm also in Spring cleaning mode and did a quick wardrobe cull this morning. I managed to fill three plastic bags of clothes I no longer wear and my shelves are looking much more orderly! I decided to walk up to the charity clothing bin to drop off my bags and couldn't get over how warm it was out. Every day I pass this glorious tree which has been blossoming for a few weeks now. I was really surprised the first day I saw it blooming as I'm 100 per cent sure it didn't flower last year. I walk to the train every day and I'm not one to let beautiful flowers go unnoticed! I love that the little stump next to it is also blossoming - go you good thing!

It's been a really nice relaxing weekend. We had some friends over for dinner and a movie last night which was a lot of fun. They also slept over as our place is much quieter than theirs and they wanted a good sleep! We all ended up sleeping in until 10am today then having coffee together. 

Tonight Ben and I are going to see Kick Ass 2 in Gold Class with some of his work mates. I've never seen a movie in Gold Class before so I'm quite excited! Life is bliss.

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Ode To Friends

A few months ago I decided to embark on a life changing journey. A journey of love, laughter and many tears. Like with most things I do, I threw myself into it, even going so far as to not seeing the outside world for days at a time.

Yes, I decided to watch the whole 10 seasons of Friends.

Now, I'm not one to exaggerate (cough..much), but this might rank as one of the best decisions of my life. Growing up I'd catch the occasional episode on TV and the scary thing is, I somehow convinced myself that Friends wasn't really my kind of show. In fact, I went so far as to call it "cheesy". Oh younger self, you were so foolish.

With age comes wisdom and understanding and by about episode five of season one I had decided that Friends was the greatest show ever made.

In all seriousness, I'm actually glad I waited until I was a bit older to watch it. When I was younger, some of the jokes flew straight over my head and I wasn't able to empathise with the characters.

Here are a few things Friends taught me:

  • I'm possibly dating a real life Chandler Bing.
  • New York is the greatest city on Earth (well hey, I already knew that).
  • Never date anyone named Janice.
  • You can fall in love with your best friend.
  • They wore a lot of turtle necks and overalls in the 90s.
  • Jennifer Aniston has an amazing body.
  • Bras weren't quite so supportive 15 years ago. Lots of high beaming.
  • Never date anyone named Ross.
  • Never assume you were 'on a break'.
  • You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. That includes watching 10 series of a TV show in less than two months.
  • Matt Perry's weight was extremely unpredictable.
  • It's okay if you haven't quite figured everything out in your 20s, let alone your 30s.
Now that it's over, I will admit that yes, a part of me is missing. But it's nice to know that if I ever need a laugh, I can rely on my trusty mates in apartment 20.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ben Turns 26

It was Ben's 26th birthday on Thursday and we've had an awesome three-day-long weekend of celebrations! We started by dragging our sleepy butts out of bed early on Thursday morning to have a hot breakfast together before work. I gave Ben a few presents and we have just acquired a BBQ which counts as a super awesome extra present (and I benefit from it kind of present). After work that night we met in the city to have dinner at Chur Burger, a new and popular joint in Surry Hills. It was packed but we didn't have to wait long for a table and the service was great. I loved my veggie burger with beetroot slaw and honey labne. So good!

We both took Friday off and after a big sleep in we met a friend of mine for lunch at Element 6, a cute cafe in West Ryde which I wrote about here. My friend is an Aussie living in New York and she was home to see her family. It was great to catch up and for Ben to finally meet her! We had a lazy afternoon, watched Epic (it was), then headed out to Parramatta for a farewell for one of Ben's work mates. Saturday was mostly spent doing chores, but we also took a walk to the shops and soaked up some of the seriously amazing sunshine Sydney has been blessed with lately. 

On Saturday night we met a few friends at The Soda Factory for some birthday drinks and hot dogs! My sister and her boyfriend also drove down from Newcastle for the occasion and we had such a good night out with our closest Sydney friends. The Soda Factory is a very cool bar and the hot dogs were amazing. It was too dark to take a photo but I had a veggie dog with onion rings, slaw and mustard. We drank and danced for a few hours before heading up to Flinder's Bar near Taylor Square. Another friend of ours works there so we ended up scoring a bunch of free drinks (probably a few too many has been...a struggle). I had so much fun and whattya know, managed to stay out until 2am! This granny can party after all. This morning called for a big BBQ breakfast followed by several hours of Friends.

Happy birthday Benny boy, love from your biggest fan. x