Beaches, Babies, Beers and Brides (Part Two)

Rightio… where were we?

Ahh, that’s right. So, the day after the Beauvine evening with my lovely ladies, we were preparing for the real reason we decided to fly 38 hours back home… The nuptials of one Joseph Rossi and one Jemma Koios!

A must say a huge thank you to Vicki for inviting us all over to get ready and eat at her house beforehand, and also doing full make up for the four of us girls. Such a gem! Lynn also receives a special mention for organising the food and doing the lion’s share of the cooking. I truly believe that getting ready for any big event is just as exciting as the event itself and I had so much fun doing that with these stunners:

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The wedding day was perfect. Perth weather finally turned it on and the sun did not stop shining all day long. Everything ran smoothly as far as we could tell, the bride looked breathtaking and the groom couldn’t stop crying. It was absolute bliss to spectate.

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The reception was held at Sandalford, in their barrel room. The rows of fairy lights strung across wine barrels piled over polished concrete gave the room such an impressive glow that we couldn’t help ourselves by being astonished as we all walked in.

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The delicious food, heartwarming speeches and entertaining Italian and Macedonian dancing topped off an already spectacular day. We got a special mention in the groom’s thank you speech, but all I needed was to see the newlyweds looking as happy as I’ve ever seen them. Congratulations Jem and Jo, you two are a dream!

Now, if only Andrew and I could take a decent photo together…

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For the rest of the week, after moving to Mum’s place, we continued the varied catch-ups. We saw old faces, met some brand new ones, celebrated an 83rd birthday, and had quite a surprise…

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Andrew learnt how to hold a baby, his gorgeous cousin’s boy James. James had a plethora of toys in front of him and all he wanted to do was munch on the plastic cups on the table. Such a big boy, but so happy!

I took Mum’s ratbag Darcy to the beach where I received further proof that he is not like other dogs. I think the whole sand/water concept really confused him as he continued to look for me for guidance as to what he should be doing. When I sat down to appreciate the view he sat right behind me, hidden from the elements. Weirdo..

Andrew got out his cruiser bike and after seeing this grin the whole afternoon I’m so glad he didn’t end up selling it before we left. This was one happy chappy (though I think that was more to do with the amount of Pokemon he’s managed to catch since being back).

The last few nights were a whirlwind, but I have to thank all of our parents for the amazing dinners! Dad and Melissa, thank you for the incredible experience of dining at Wildflower – it was something else!
Mum, you’re amazing for putting on a full Indian feast and serving it all on Royal Doulton. I’m still dreaming of that butter chicken..
Glenn and Louise, BBQs are your house are always loud, delicious and entertaining. I love every minute ­čÖé I wish we’d grabbed some photos, but I always get too caught up in the moment.

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On one of our final days we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Maggie Matilda, who was born a few months after we left. She is delightfully delicious, barely made a peep the whole three hours we were there and is such a welcome addition to our Perth family. Jared and Carls, you made one cute baby. Wishing you three all the best!

To finish off our time at home, we were surprised by the arrival of our darling friends Brooke and Sean. They had received some awful news while being away and travelled for two days to come home and be with family. I won’t go into details, but I will say that even under those circumstances it was so good to see them!

Brooke, my sweet girl, decided that they should use the time they have at home to work on their wedding planning, before heading back to continue their European adventure. Little did I know that that would asking four of us ladies to be her bridesmaids!

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I accepted immediately with a beaming smile on my face. The thought of standing alongside one of my best friends while she marries another of my best friends is already bringing tears to my eyes. I’m so honoured to have this opportunity and will try my very best to help as much as I can from the other side of the world. I love you schnooky and I can’t wait for all the happiness that next year will bring us all!

Oh my heart, be still. We have been showered with love and joy since landing in Perth, and from the huge meal Andrew’s mum prepared for our first night to the miniature Christmas dinner my Mum planned for my last night it’s been a wonderful visit home.

Much love to all, you really do mean the world to us. But… Whistler Winter is calling and we’re going to answer her loud and clear.
Bring on the snowboarding, the white Christmas, the mulled wine, the snow angels, the crockpot meals, the rosy cheeks and allllllllll the layers!

Hanbel.
x

P.s. Forgot to mention that we’re ducking past Hawaii on our way back, keep checking in for updates on our mini island getaway!

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Hey Girl I Wanna Marry You

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I love a good wedding.

I love getting everyone together, dressed to the nines with a seemingly bottomless supply of alcohol flowing.
I love the awkward dancing, the touching speeches and the caaaaaake.
I love watching two people tell the world how much they love each other.

Andrew and I were lucky enough to witness this twice in two weeks, first with my step-cousin and the following week at Andrew’s cousin’s wedding.

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Two of my favourite guys, my Dad and my little bro. My papa has the best beach house in Dunsborough which Andrew and I were lucky enough to stay in for the week. The first weekend though, was full of quality time with my weird and wonderful family.

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Another step-cousin of mine, the beautiful bridesmaid Jess.
IMG_0842And the Bunney clan! (Newest Bunney in the middle, Kate you are amazing!)

Seeing Matt’s beaming face as all of his guests arrived, seeing him tear up watching Kate walk down the aisle, and watching him fist pump his way through the ceremony just made me so happy. Congratulations Matt and Kate, you two are a dream.


 

Which bring us to wedding number two.
Honestly, of all the weddings I have been to (which isn’t a huge amount, but enough to start thinking that I know everything hah!) these were some of the best. Andrew’s cousin Teleisha is one of the most calm people I have ever met, which just made the whole day relaxed and comforting.

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Held at the stunning winery House of Cards, it was the most picturesque setting for the insanely good food, beautiful speeches and crazy dance moves that followed.

IMG_0865IMG_0140.jpgIMG_0150I’m totally bias because these are two of my best friends, but I thought the bridesmaids were close to stealing the show!

IMG_015312802869_10154526249768368_6230666066045880358_nStolen from Linley, because I had none of the bride, but this dress had to be shared!

IMG_0128… what everyone was feeling this night, way too much of it!

The drive back to Perth (with a slight hangover) was full of reflection on the happiness that was thrown around this week like confetti. No, no one is perfect, and neither is any family, but it’s so lovely when everything can be pushed aside for one night.

Hopefully everyone who wants this opportunity will be entitled to, and soon.

Much love to all; no matter what your circumstance.
Hanbel.
x

Like Peas and Carrots.

I KNOW, I’M SORRY. In my defence, I have been away from Wifi for a week. We had back to back weddings down south, so decided to stay for a week and soak up that beautiful southern region.

I’ll go through all my photos ASAP and pop some up here for you to peruse. For now, I just wanted to gush a little.

Just to give you a little insight, I never really “plan” blog posts. They just kind of happen when I feel like it. Particularly when I’m feeling a bit emotional about something, the best thing for me to do is write about it. I don’t know what it is about getting my hands moving across the keyboard, but it’s cathartic and eye-opening and provides closure whenever I need it most.

Yep, you guessed it, this is about Andrew.┬áThe way we work as a couple is to NOT spend all of our time together. We are so different in sooo many ways, and have different interests. So it makes sense for us to do our own thing, and then meet up again at home and tell stories of our adventures. Having said that, we do a lot of things together and are teaching one another how to enjoy the other’s favourite things (mountain biking, reading, enjoying food).

Nevertheless, the thought of spending a week as just the two of us was both parts exciting and daunting. I really didn’t need to worry though, we had the best time ever. Sometimes it just takes a little break, some time away from home and the routine we’ve built up to help you appreciate this human that you’re doing life with.

It’s snuck up on me, this love I have for this boy. I’ve always had a thing for him, even when I shouldn’t have or when we were in completely different places (literally and figuratively). The way we are right now is so much better than I could have ever imagined.

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I blame two weddings for making me feel so much right now, and the fact that the day after we got home, Andrew flew out for work. I think what I’m trying to say is that I had a really good week away, and it has cemented all of my decisions for the next two years.
To Andrew: travelling with you is going to be a breeze, thank you for making life as fun as it is right now…

BRING ON CANADA!

Hanbel.
x

Let Them Eat Cake!

So, I’ve been baking again.

And if you like chocolate, coffee, salted caramel, snickers or sugar and butter in general, you will LOVE these cupcakes.

Andrew’s Cousin (also Lucy’s bestie – Perth is too small) is getting married in under a month!!! We celebrated her kitchen tea this past weekend, and the bridesmaids asked if I could contribute my baking skillz.

I’m sure you all know by now that I will take any opportunity to bake, so this was a no brainer. Also, I found this video by Cupcake Jemma and was DYING to try it out. The name itself says it all: Salted Caramel Chocolate Mudslide Cupcakes. C’mon!!

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First up, we’ve gotta make some Salted Caramel, which is so much easier than you think!
Pop one teaspoon of vanilla extract (essence is way better, but this is what I had) into 1 cup of double cream, and put to the side.
Put a tea towel down on your bench, you’ll be needing this very soon!

Then, combine 6 tablespoons of tap water with a cup of caster sugar and bang it on the heat (that was a bit Jamie Oliver wasn’t it?). Now here’s the tricky part: leave it on medium heat for around 8-10 minutes. Do not touch it. No stirring, no whisking, no sloshing around. Let it do it’s thing.

When it looks like this:

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Take it off the heat, and add in your cream. AND NOW YOU GET TO STIR. Please don’t stop stirring while you pour the cream in steadily until it’s all combined. It will then smell unbelievable and look like all your caramel dreams. Which is when you add in a teaspoon of good quality sea salt flakes and set the jar aside for later on.

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Now, the actual cupcake part.
Make a dry ingredient bowl: 350g plain flour, 60g cocoa powder, 370g caster sugar, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, a pinch of salt and 150g chocolate chips. Mix it up!
Then a wet ingredient bowl: 240ml cooled coffee (I made two cups that morning, one for the cupcakes, one for Hanbel), 240ml buttermilk, 210ml vegetable oil and 3 large eggs.

Add the dry into the wet and combine, simples!

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Pop them into cupcake cases, and then into a 180 degree oven for 22 minutes. While they’re cooking and getting even more delicious, move onto the icing.

Start by beating 300g soft unsalted butter until it’s light and fluffy (I use a hand mixer, but a standing mixer is perfecto). Next up, 540g SIFTED icing sugar is added in two stages. I say SIFTED in CAPITAL LETTERS because I didn’t sift mine, and had piping bag issues later on. It wasn’t the end of the world, but life is easier with sifted icing sugar.
Add in half of the salted caramel we made earlier (around 150ml) and whiz away.

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These bad boys come out of the oven, and it’s time for the sneaky part.

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Using a chopstick, or something similar, poke a decent hole in the top of each cupcake. This is where the rest of that amazing salted caramel goes!

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Frost your cupcakes however you like, piped or spooned on, and you’re almost good to go! I had a little of the salted caramel left over, so I drizzled that over the top. As per Jemma’s suggestion, I had also frozen mini snickers bars ahead of time, to chop up and place on top. Because these cupcakes didn’t have enough chocolate in them already…

There you have it, the final product:

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So dense, soft and delectable (I’m avoiding the M word, but you all know it). I went a little light on the frosting, but as these were very sweet and rich, I think it worked out well.

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Go on, give them a go. You know you want 24 of these puppies to yourself…

Hanbel.
x

 

 

10 Things That Make Me Terribly Happy About Summer

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  1. Balmy summer nights, eating out late and people watching
  2. Prawn, Mango and Avocado salad
  3. The perfect time for a pixie haircut
  4. The Fringe Festival!!
  5. Those frozen yoghurt cravings
  6. Andrew cooking Jerk Chicken on the BBQ
  7. And then eating dinner outside!
  8. All of the upcoming Weddings, Hen’s Nights and Kitchen Teas
  9. WINE TOURS
  10. Summer road trips are the absolute best! A Perth summer is incomplete without at least one of these. Bring on February!

Hanbel.
x

Eat, Drink and Be Married

I can’t tell you how nice it is to go to a wedding when you’re just so genuinely happy for the couple that the joy you feel makes you want to burst.
The kind of wedding where all of your friends attend, everyone looks perfect, the weather is incredible and you cry so many tears.

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The kind of wedding where the champagne is flowing, your boyfriend thrives in his role of MC, the best man makes everyone cry and the cake is to die for.

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A day where it doesn’t matter who’s ex girlfriend is at the next table, or that your curls have dropped or even that because of a bet made years ago, one of the boys danced the last dance dressed like this:

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You get so swept up in days like these, that you take only one photo of the beautiful bride and groom…

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And forget how to pose for photos yourself…

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So you have to rely on facebook the next day (thanks Soph!)

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Nikki and Albie, what can I say? I love you both so much, even more so after this perfect day. Wishing you all the joy and love and laughter for the rest of your incredible lives.

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Gosh, I’m so lucky.

Hanbel.
x