Thursday, 29 December 2016

ChrIstmas, family and end of year wrap up.

Christmas came around far to quickly this year and soon it will be the end of 2016. I am looking forward to 2017 as this will be a big year for travel. 
This Is the year that I will indulge my every whim and travel when ever my little heart desires. Retirement will be well and truly underway.
On the lead up to Christmas we have a few annual Celebrations, and this year was no different as we continued on with our traditions.

My eclectic decorations around the house, I went all out, as we have a house full of guests this year

We love to have a Christmas dinner with our great friends and neighbours, we exchange gifts, wine, dine and chew the fat..

Always a great evening.

On the Sunday before Christmas we attended an event in Concord West, another excellent evening with friends and even Santa paid a visit.

Donna's Christmas decorations were amazing as always,

Our Christmas was spent celebrating with family, who travelled from Melbourne, Queensland and New Zealand. This time last of year is very special and a great time for families to come together to reminisce and reflect on how the years have flown by and our children who are now adults and are having families of their own.

On the menu was chilli crab, a favourite dish of ours, and as I have had to work the last few years, it has been missed so this year it is back on the menu.

Friday, DH, my sister, son, Nigel and Steven, travelled over to Cabramatta to do yumcha and seafood and fruit shopping, quite a successful shop with 3 mud crabs purchased as well as prawns.

Esme, my sister who is a wonderful help and a chef in her past life, helped me do the prep on Christmas Eve and everything came together nicely on Christmas Day.
Christmas lunch
On the menu, glazed ham, turducken, (fondly called swine turducken by my son, because it was wrapped in bacon) pork, chilli crab, salads, roasted vegetables, fruit platter and four desserts, so much food and enjoyed by all.
Our breakfast
Table set nicely by Nicholle.
Unwrapping the presents is always met with excitement, our little grandson "Logan" was only interested in standing on the box, so much fun to watch.

The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, swimming and game playing with cards and Tri-ominos.
My youngest son Alex handcrafted a table for his brother, Nigel, a great undertaking and very well made, well done son !.

Another successful family gathering, now for the new year.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

New Zealand and countdown to Christmas.

Four days after arriving home from India and Western Australia, I travelled to New Zealand with my son and daughter Inlaw. My daughter Inlaw has taken up a position as a senior lecturer at Canterbury University in Christchurch. This was a perfect opportunity for me to have a few days visiting Marg and Mark whom we had met in 2015, whilst travelling through Soain, Portugal and Morrocco.
I also made a couple of cushions for Marg to enjoy with an Aussie and kiwi symbol.

I had a wonderful three days chatting, sightseeing, drinking and reminiscing about our travels.
Marg has a lovely garden with the best peonies growing.

I also got to meet a lot of their friends, who were all delightful. We also went on a road trip to Geraldine and Ashburton with a visit to Annie's Quilt store and a few shops on the way. On the way home we stopped at a book barn, what an amazing store, books galore, I managed to get some of my Outlander series books.
On the Sunday we travelled to Ashburton to go to a Christmas craft fair, a nice collection of crafts.
After lunch with my son and daughter Inlaw, it was time to go back to Christchurch to travel home late afternoon Thank you Marg and Marc for an awesome few days, see you in Oz next year.

On the return home it was time to start finishing up the year with completion of quilts and Kris Kringle gifts. As this is the first year I will be home for Christmas after retiring in July. We will have a house full of visitors. My youngest sister will travel from Toowoomba with her husband and their daughters will travel from Melbourne and Brisbane, also  my daughter Inlaw will travel from Christchurch.

My Kris Kringle was my brother Inlaw Steven who is amilitary buff,so why not make a quilt, depicting war times. The war of I denounce, WW1, WW2, civil war and modern day, this quilt was a challenge to do as fabrics with a war theme was difficult to obtain.
The result below.

My oldest son commissioned me to make his Kris Kringle gift for his cousin, Rhiannon, she is a "Frida"
Admirer like her aunt, so happy to oblige.

End of year wrap up with our quilting group was a luncheon at my place, everyone contributed to the meal and a great lunch was had by all.

My little grandson is such a delight and he commence daycare one day a week, first visit was not a success due to him getting quite sick which required a visit to the hospital, thankfully he is recovered and no illness since.
Where does the time go, already 15months old.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Perth, Broome, Margaret River and Gourmet Escape

After flying from Dehli to Perth via Singapore, which took, nine hours in total. We arrived in Perth at midday and drove  to South Perth to stay with our friend Terri who we met in Europe in 2006 and have remained friends for over 10 years.
We spent 3 days, in Perth as well as attending a family reunion in Mandurah with Terri, a fun day had by all.

On Monday we flew up to Broome, which took 1 1/2hrs, where we were to spend 4 days, my god how hot and humid is Broome even after the heat in India we were not prepared for this type of heat.
We stayed at the gorgeous cable beach resort, in a very nice suite, we were set for the next four days. 

We ventured into town on our second day and did the town tour as well as look around the shops, always great to start with the local op shop, where I bought a book. 

Looked at the famous Broome pearls but I was not interested in buying, much to DH delight.  We tossed up whether we would do a couple of tours, but as it was the wet season's timetable there was not a lot on offer, so we both made the decision to enjoy the resort and recover from our hectic sixteen days in India.
On our first night we went into town to enjoy "staircase to the moon, what an awesome sight.

A couple of days in the pool, relaxing and reading, this was a challenge for me, to sit still.....

Thursday we were again at the Broome airport, waiting to fly back to Perth where we would meet our son and daughter Inlaw (Alex and Cara) who were flying in from Bali and off we would venture to our gourmet escape in Margaret River for four days.

On arrival into Margaret River where we were to stay in an Air B & B, where we ventured into town, to collect groceries and then our tour convener.....Cara organised our next few days.

The gourmet escape weekend, we were to spend with our children was to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, as a mum and dad and a very close knit family, both DH and I felt very privedged to be asked to be involved in their celebration and share these days with them. Thursday night we dined at The Settlers, a great meal all round.

Friday was our lunch at Leuwin estate, "Feast in the Forest" what an amazing day with great food, wine and people

Wonderful to meet Anthony Puharich, Tony Howell and Mike Bent, a fun day was had by all, wine and beer was flowing and a great start to our gourmet escape.

After such a huge lunch, we relaxed at home and played cards. Alex and I did cheat a little, much to the horror of Cara.....

Saturday we ventured into the gourmet village after visiting a few wineries and Cheeky Monkey brewery. In the gourmet village there were many stall holders, selling their produce, as well as celebrity chef's cooking or just the case of Nigella Lawson.

We opted out of that one to watch a family friend, Mitch Orr cook a quick and easy dish with asparagus, we were entertained for 20 mins and even got to sample his dish.

Over all my review of the gourmet village, I felt was overrated,  although I am not an expert, just a good home cook and enjoy good produce. Margaret River in itself has fantastic produce to purchase and cook with.

Sunday was our Audi BBQ on the Beach with guest chef Rick Stein, which was held on Eagle Rock beach, after visiting more wineries, distilleries cheese factories and chocolate factories, we arrived at midday.

The location where beach BBQ was held was very picturesque and again I felt quite blessed to live in such a magestic country, we are truely the lucky country.

Again we could not fault the food, wine, spirits and wine served under our tepees on the beach.
We even got a photo opportunity with Rick Stein.

A successful end to a great four days, spent in the gorgeous Margaret River.

Monday was back to reality and on our flight home after a month away from home, back to our gorgeous girl Xena who sustained an injury whilst we were away, so off to surgery for her on Thursday to fix her crucial ligament.
At least she loves my handwoven camel wool rug that I bought and lugged all over India, nice to know that the rug is appreciated.