Monthly Archives: September 2013

You are browsing the site archives by month.

We have our wedding photos!

So very, very happy with the photos. Our photographer, Lara Luz, was brilliant. She’s incredibly skillful at capturing people in the moment. There are photos of me in our gallery that I don’t even remember her taking. She’s a ninja photographer!

So here are a few of the 441 photos (!!!) from our wedding.



And then there’s this… This absolutely brilliant slideshow (with music!) that Lara has put together.

All good things must come to an end

So, here I am at the Malaysia Airlines lounge in Kuala Lumpa. One more flight and we’re home.

Our last day in Paris was lovely. There was shopping (ummm… more for me than for Richard but he did buy stuff!), a leisurely lunch and then we walked up to a kitchenware supply place in the hope of finding canelé molds. And we did! Copper ones and everything!! So let the baking commence – once we get some rum or something alcoholic to put in them. They were my favourite treat while we were in France and I ate one nearly every day (along with a croissant for breakfast).

We had dinner at L’AOC, a fabulous little place that was recommended to me before last year’s trip. So we went there on our last night in Paris, just after Richard proposed (all together now: d’aaaaaaaw!). It seemed that we might be developing a bit of a tradition when in Paris of going there for dinner on the last night. Seriously though, if you’re ever visiting, L’AOC is worth the trip just for the jambon entree. It’s a heavily meat restaurant – there are no vegie dishes on the menu so don’t take a vegetarian there unless you want to really upset them!

The other place we had a sensational meal was Chez Moustache. If you’re staying on the left bank, it’s well worth crossing the Seine – but make a reservation if you can. We got there just after 8pm – their opening time – and I think we got the last available table.

So yes, all in all… a lovely time in Paris.

The leaving, not so much. What a freaken disaster!

We got dropped off at the wrong terminal by our driver but it really wasn’t his fault because Malayasia Air don’t put terminals on their reservation emails. Okay, we probably should’ve looked it up online but we both just assumed it would be on there. I was certain we were going to miss the flight because it took us nearly two hours to get through passport control and bag scan. We queued and queued and queued. It was awful. I really can’t express how bad it was. I have never ever boarded a flight 10 minutes before it was due to take off. Hell, I’ve never boarded a flight 30 minutes before it was supposed to take off. I get anxious if I’m not at train stations a good half an hour before the train is supposed to go.

The cabin crew made it pretty clear that it was the fault of the French airport people. They just didn’t bother opening up any extra passport points or bag scanners until the situation got so out of control it was ridiculous. I think we got stuck in the passport check line when we weren’t supposed to because we’re traveling bus class. There did seem to be a “short cut” line but we were pushed into the massive queue. Again, I can’t stress how much it sucked. Waiting in line to clear customs when you get home has nothing on what we experienced – nothing! Even lining up at LAX to get out of the airport was a breeze in comparison (and I consider LAX to be one of the circles of hell.)

Anyhoo… enough whinging! One more flight and we’re home. I can’t wait to crawl into my own bed. Then we have a week off and receive our delivery from Peter’s of Kensington. Wedding presents! I’m going to be making ice cream to have with canelé – which will be the most decadent dessert ever!

Bonjour de Paris (encore)!

And we’re back in Paris. One more day and we head home. We arrived Sunday afternoon and have spent the days wandering around Paris, doing a few touristy things as well as shopping.

Monday we actually went inside Notre Dame. When we were in Paris last year, we went to the cathedral but it was Good Friday so the queue to get in was massive. This time it wasn’t as bad and moving swiftly. But not swiftly enough for us to avoid getting caught in a sudden and heavy downpour. Oh well… Autumn in Paris seems to be all about sudden, unexpected rain.

Government building
Walked past this on the way to the cathedral. Government buildings are much more impressive in France. Well, in Paris anyway.

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral.



My candle for Joan d'Arc
My candle for Joan d’Arc. After what they did to her, she deserves them.

Joan d'Arc
Joan d’Arc.

Stained glass window
It’s worth visiting Notre Dame just for the stained glass windows.

Baptismal font
Baptismal font.

Cathedral interior

Door knocker


Two gargolyes

By the time we got out of the cathedral it was all blue skies again so we wandered around looking for somewhere to have lunch and stumbled across a great bistro called Le Bouledogue. (They have a website but it’s awful so I’m not linking to it.) The food was great. I’ve discovered that I do actually like duck so I had their filet of duck in pepper sauce and wow! Soooo good!! We’ll definitely be heading back there (if we can find it again!) on any return trips to Paris. Straight after lunch we meet up with Richard’s cousin and his wife. We did the very Parisian thing of sitting at a cafe and drinking the afternoon away.

Tuesday was all about shopping. We shopped. Or rather I shopped and Richard got to watch. I finally bought myself a pair of black heels and a pair of ballet flats from Repetto. Spent a lot of money but the shoes are so pretty I think it’s worth it. The ballet flats I bought actually look like ballet shoes! Except they’re black and they sparkle! Proof I am a proper girl – going shoe shopping made me happy! I was also determined to not leave Paris without buying a stripy top. I now own three. And there’s a pair of new sneakers that also have to be squeezed into my luggage. What? There’s an Onitsuka Tiger shop in Paris and I happen to know exactly where it is! I might’ve persuaded Richard to buy a pair as well.

Today we visited Versailles. It’s big, really big but the part of the palace you can visit is only a fraction of it. Still, it does contain the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) and that’s worth the visit alone. Impossible to get a good photo of it though when it’s full of people but it’s still immensely grand. Anyhoo… photos!

Palace of Versailles

The chapel
The chapel inside the main building.

The chapel

Roof of the chapel
The roof the chapel.

Hall lined with statues
I loved this hall. It was just astonishing to look at and it looked about a million miles long! Well, I loved it anyway!

Hall lined with statues

Key to the king's bed chamber
The key to the king’s bed chamber.

Louis XIV
I think this is Louis the XIV. Or it could’ve been Louis XV. I can’t remember!

I wish this photo captured the sheer size of this fireplace. It was massive! The pieces of wood in it are about a metre to a metre and a half long.

We had lunch at the restaurant inside the palace. These are the desserts on offer.

Exterior of the palace
And we’re outside in the gardens!

Formal garden

View of the gardens leading down to the grand canel

Avenue of trees


I think we walked around the gardens for about two and a half hours. We got rained on. It was cold. But it was still stunningly beautiful and we’ll be back because we didn’t get to the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s retreat (but originally design for Madame de Pompadour). And we didn’t see all of the garden either.

Tomorrow is our last day in Paris. Then it’s back home and back to reality. Well, we have another week off before we have to return to work. I’m actually looking forward to being home. Can’t wait to sleep in my own bed!

Salutations de la Chapelle de la Brossardière

We are here: Chapelle de la Brossardière, which is just outside Taillebourg, Poitou-Charentes. It’s a beautiful old house owned by friends of Richard’s parents. It’s deep in the French countryside and when I look out our bedroom’s window, I can see cows wandering around the paddock next door.

View from our bedroom window


Bell at the front door

Chairs in the dining room

House exterior

View through a gap in the hedge

House exterior


House exterior

View from the balcony

Today we visited Rochefort, a port town that in 1665 selected to be a navy base. They built ships in Rochefort and have returned to this tradition, building l’Hermione. Building started in 1997 and they’re still going! But it’s nearly finished and in 2015, they’ll sail to Boston, which is what the original l’Hermione is famous for.





Stairs and arches


On the way back, we stopped in a tiny dot of a town (I don’t know what it was called) with an amazing 10th century church. It also had a medieval outdoor laundry where the townspeople would go to wash their clothes.

Stained glass window


Church doors

10th century church exterior

10th century church exterior


Medieval laundry

Salutations du Château Hôtel du Breuil à Cheverny

We are here at the Chateau du Breuil. There’s been a building here since the 15th century, the current Chateau was built in the 18th century. It got turned into a hotel in 1989. Interestingly enough, there’s a 20 year gap in the history of the building so I’m guessing it was abandoned or tied up in a messy divorce/will settlement.

Chateau de Breuil

The windows of the room we're staying in
The windows of the room we’re staying in.

Chateau's dog
Resident puppy, Djoser, looking very attentive because we had food (it was fruit, we didn’t give him any).

One of the outer buildings
One of the outer buildings.

We haven’t done very much since we got here on Sunday. I was once again unwell (too much rich food and wine the night before I think but I regret nothing!) so I ended up sleeping most of Sunday afternoon away. Yesterday was very overcast and ended up raining in the afternoon so my insistence that we have one day where we didn’t do anything was aptly timed.

The staircase shot from the top.

Books piled at the top of the staircase
And what do you do with stairs that go nowhere? Pile books there!



Some photos just say “make me black and white!”

However, today we borrowed bikes from the Chateau and went for a tootle around the countryside. We had plans for doing a decent length ride but when we got on the bikes that all changed. This was the bike I was given:
I now have a new and profound respect for my beautiful BMC (and even heavy, sometimes hard-to-handle Jayne). The balance was crazy and I wobbled around like mad. I must say that Richard’s bike wasn’t much better except his wasn’t a step-through. Pretty awful geometry which made very hard to handle. I really don’t know how people do the whole upright riding style.

Undaunted, we made our way to Chateau de Cheverny. Which really wasn’t that far away but it felt like it on that stupid bike! Tintin readers might recognise it because it’s basis for Marlinspike Hall.

Château de Cheverny
Château de Cheverny

Tintin and Captain Haddock
Tintin! And Captain Haddock.

Richard doing the touristy thing
Richard doing the touristy thing.

Château de Cheverny

So let the pic spam on the Chateau’s interior commence!
Roses in a vase
Roses in a vase. They just looked pretty.

Chandelier in the formal dining room.

Wood panel
One of 36 wood panels in the formal dining room.

Painted doors
Elaborately painted doors.

Elaborately decorated ceiling
The ceiling was amazing. Such detail!

Birthing suite!
Birthing suite. Yes, really!

A child's room
Child’s room, including creepy toys.

Rocking horse
An original rocking horse. Little different from what we think of rocking horses.

Teddy on the bed
Teddy is the same though!

Brass bath
Brass (or copper) bath.

Kitchen attached to the private dining room.

Dining table
Fully set dining table in the private dining room.

Chairs with a small table with afternoon tea on it
Anyone for a spot of afternoon tea?

And now we get to the weapons…

Chain mail surrounded by weapons


Sedan chair
Sedan chair. People were short in the 18th century!

Chair – cos I thought it looked nice.

Bed for the King
There was an expectation that all of the nobility would keep a bedroom for the King. This is the one in Chateau de Cheverny.

Wooden cabinet
Pretty wooden cabinet in the King’s bedroom.

Yup, more photos of the ceiling.


A harp. The brochure we were given said it still worked even though it’s about 300 years old.

Piano (or perhaps the precursor to the modern piano).

Family crest I think
Family crest I think.

Wow… I took a lot of photos inside!

Exterior of the chateau

Swans are white here.

Lunch! Baguettes with ham and cheese, cherry tomatoes and cans of orangina.

One very long driveway
The “impress the visitors” view of the house from the end of the driveway.

Don't tease the hounds
Really, don’t tease the hounds!

The hounds
The hounds in question were all off in slumberland.

Pile of sleeping dogs
Doggy love. D’aaaw!!

Bumble bee!
Bumble bee!

And finally there’s this…
Crème brûlée nougart
Crème brûlée nougat. I didn’t think we’d eat it all in one go but we did.

Tomorrow we’re off to Nantes. We’ll be there for one night before we continue onto Saintes for a few days. Then it’s back to Paris for five nights. And finally we’ll be heading home.

Election? What election?

One of the big pluses of being in Europe right now is that we’ve been able to avoid all the excessive political rubbish that’s going at home. After all the ads and endless blathering, I was so very glad to leave it all behind. Of course that doesn’t mean we’ve been ignoring it. This stuff is important and I was kinda hoping a miracle would occur and Tony Abbott wouldn’t get in. Sigh. Wishful thinking. Fingers crossed the Libs don’t get control of the Senate so there’s some balance.


A storm rolled though at about 9am yesterday morning and it’s taken all the heat with it. Thank God! It’s much more pleasant here in Paris now that it’s not ridiculously hot.

French breakfast
Typical French breakfast! (This isn’t our breakfast, we ate our’s before I even thought of taking a photo. This is someone else’s and I hope they didn’t noticed me taking it.)

Yesterday we visited the Centre Pompidou (and got thoroughly rained on during on the way).

Banner for Roy Lichtenstein exhibition
This might explain why we went there!

Yup, a Roy Lichtenstein exhibition was on and it was brilliant. I’d forgotten how good at sculpture he was so seeing so many of them included was great. It was fantastic to get up close to Whaam!. Drowning Girl was there too but I was more excited to see Modular Painting with Four Panels #4 (which I do think I’ve seen before). I resisted the urge to buy the complete catalogue because it had some serious heft to it and I’d have to carry it around for the next 12 days but we are coming back to Paris at the end of the trip for four days so I think another visit to Centre Pompidou is in order. They have a shop you can get into without needing to buy a ticket. 🙂

We also wandered around the other collection (only one because the other permanent collection was closed). They have some great stuff at Centre Pomidou so it’s well worth the visit. Also the views are quite spectacular.

View from Centre Pompidou
Only one photo of the view as it was raining when we first went in and then up to the fifth floor.

I found some of the artwork to be disturbing in the permanent modern art collection but I guess that’s what the artist was going for. Great art should cause a reaction and it doesn’t have to be a good one.

Piece exhibited at Centre Pompidou
And this is one of the ones I found disturbing. They filled the entire room.

But there was plenty of fun stuff too!
Sculpture in Centre Pompidou

Sculpture in Centre Pompidou

Sculpture in Centre Pompidou
Stupid me didn’t take a photo of the little panel with the name of the piece and artist on it so I have no clue who did it. But it was great. Really playful and fun.

Today we went looking for the French equivalent of a farmers’ market and we found one! So much food! And a staggering amount of variety. I saw mushrooms that I’ve never seen before. Loads and loads of fruit. You could pretty much do your entire weekly food shop at this place and not need to go anywhere else (so long as you didn’t need milk). There were bakers, butchers, fishmongers, fromagerie, people selling chickens, bacon, jamon, dips, olives. Just about everything you can think of (and probably stuff that you hadn’t).

Mushrooms! No idea what variety they are but they looked amazing.

Punnet of raspberries
Yum! Haven’t had fresh raspberries in months.

The market we visited wasn’t that far from the Eiffel Tower so we wandered over.

Eiffel Tower
Yup, the Eiffel Tower. Still there.

The queues were crazy and it looks like there’s still only one lift operating so the jury is out on whether or not we’ll go up it when we get back to Paris.

I was determined to buy shoes today but have been thoroughly thwarted. Sigh. I really want a pair of black Brako heels. They made the red shoes I wore for the wedding but I’ve had no luck finding them in Paris. So far. I shall try again when we’re back in a week or so (although I don’t like my chances).

But right now the enormous bathtub that’s in our bathroom is calling my name and I must give a it a whirl before we check out tomorrow morning.

Oh dear…

I probably shouldn’t have eaten the absolutely delicious but loaded with dairy eclair. And the enormous meal last night…

The day started okay. Lazed about in bed for a bit, wrote a blog post and eventually got up to go visit the Maison Européenne de la Photographie before the day got too hot. It didn’t work. The day got really hot really quickly.

As we were walking back to the hotel, I started to feel sick. At first I thought it was me reacting to the heat – which I really wasn’t prepared for. But then my stomach started hurting like it did when I first developed listeria poisoning two weeks before the wedding. (Yes, you too can lose 2.5kg in a week! All you need to do is eat something tainted with listeria and enjoy a trip to hospital where they pump you full of 2ltr of IV fluid cos you’re so dehydrated you can barely stand!) Cue internal panic! We made it back to the hotel at about 2pm and I crawled into bed. Where I stayed until about 9pm.

Yes, I know. I shouldn’t be sleeping that much during the day but I was utterly exhausted and feeling very poorly. I definitely over-did the food. I had trouble on the flight over after eating a spicy chicken pastry on the flight to KL and the Malaysia Airline lounge at KL was dosed with a very sickly sweet fragrance whilst being what I felt was unpleasantly warm. Not a good combination for someone with a grumbly belly who was already feeling sick. It wasn’t a good lay-over and I was really glad to get back on the plane were at least it there was air conditioning.

I felt okay yesterday. The baguette I had for lunch was exactly what I needed – simple food with lots of flavour. The dinner last night was extraordinary but I probably over-did it and I did order an entree that was raw fish (some of the most delicious tuna I’ve ever eaten). I don’t regret the experience but I probably shouldn’t have eaten so much.

Same with the vanilla eclair. So delicious! But I definitely shouldn’t have eaten it. My body was already taxed with the long flight and if I’m honest, I still haven’t fully recovered from the listeria poisoning. It’s also been a stressful couple of weeks with the wedding and all.

It has been a stressful few weeks (whilst also being exciting). I wasn’t sleeping so well before the wedding and I guess I’m a bit emotionally drained. Which is coming out as physical tiredness. But isn’t that the point of a honeymoon? To recover from the stress of organising a wedding? It’s just a pity mine decided to come out as it did, ruining a day in Paris. After my massive afternoon nap, the nausea has gone away and I can feel my eyes getting heavy so more sleep is on the cards.

So I’m thinking a good night’s sleep, easy on the dairy, no more raw fish and she’ll be apples 🙂

Salutations de la Rive Gauche, Paris

We are here: L’Hotel, which is on the Left Bank of the Seine. It’s very plush. The wallpaper is flocked so it feels like velvet and I spent about two minutes yesterday when we first arrived in the room stroking the walls. (Yup, I’m a little bit weird.)

Our hotel room
Taken while sitting on the bed.

Our hotel room
The wall paper.

Our hotel room
I call this “Still life with lamp”. 😛

Because our flight got in so early (at 6:40am), we couldn’t check in to our room. But L’Hotel has its own swimming pool – which includes a shower – so we availed ourselves to that. Pretty amazing after a 24 flight to jump into a perfectly heated private swimming pool. Being able to shower and change clothes is such a fantastic thing.

But once cleaned up, we couldn’t sit in the hotel reception forever so we got a map and wandered out into the city. We found a boulangerie and bought some baguettes. We then eventually found our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg. We sat in the shade, ate our very early lunch and watched a group doing what started out as Tai Chi and ended up looking more like calisthenics. Then we went for a walk around the garden.

Tree branches and blue sky
Blue, blue sky! It’s still summer here.

Man sun-bathing
What amazes me is how many people are happy to sit out in the sun. But I guess they don’t have the same sort of problems that we do in Australia with skin cancer.

Luxembourg Palace
Palais du Luxembourg.

Luxembourg Palace
Palais du Luxembourg.

Medici Fountain
The Medici Fountain.

Medici Fountain
The Medici Fountain.

Sculpture in the garden
One of the many sculptures in the garden.

Medici Fountain
Another shot of the Medici Fountain.

Luxenbourg Palace
Palais du Luxembourg.

People sitting on the grass
Loads of signs saying “Keep of the grass” but…

We eventually wandered back to the hotel, got officially checked in and after unpacking, had a nap. I know you’re not supposed to sleep on the first day but I was so exhausted I had to. Also, I set an alarm because when we did collapse into bed, it was the middle of the night in Melbourne and it would’ve been too easy to sleep right through and wake up at about 3am. Which would’ve meant missing our booking in the restaurant – which just happens to have a Michelin star.

The food was so yummy. I even ate the broccoli that came with my main (oven roasted beef filet). Perhaps I am getting over my prejudice towards it. Maybe it tastes different here. I don’t know, it was yummy! I even ate the bone marrow and I usually avoid that but it, too, was delicious. Such good food. I find it interesting that the portion sizes weren’t that large but I was absolutely stuffed when we finished. Hhmm… but we did have a three course meal with extras (hors d’œuvres while contemplating the menu, amuse-bouche, cheese and a palate cleanser) so maybe that’s why I felt like I was going to explode.

So, it’s Thursday morning here and we should probably think about getting out of bed. It’s going to be hot today – 32°C – so if we want to do anything, we need to get going. Plus there’s a garbage truck outside and it’s kinda ruining the serenity a little bit.

French flag

And that was that

Right now I’m on my way to Paris. I’m sitting in bus class on a Malaysia Airlines A380. It’s dark out (even though my laptop is telling me it’s 10am Melbourne time). I have a feeling this is going to be a rather sketchy post as I’m pretty tired but I’ve only had about four/five hours sleep – I think. It’s been a really long day!

Still, having fun playing with the seat and working out what all the settings do.

So, 18 months in the planning and the wedding just flew by. I woke up on the day feeling very grumpy – mostly because I was so nervous. I’m not good under pressure and this felt like a whole lot of pressure. Actually, that’s not true. I’m great under pressure in most situations but this was one I had no clue how to deal with. Except by being grumpy and irritable. And then deciding to clean my BMC, which has been sadly neglected for about six weeks.

The flowers were duly collected and I was shocked at how heavy my bouquet was. I think it had about 40 roses in it and it had some serious heft to it. I would’ve concussed someone if I’d thrown it. But I was never going to do that, I was always going to keep it. It was utterly stunning though and I’m glad I went with something simple. Enormous but simple.

The hairdresser and make-up artist arrived. And it was all systems go from then on. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m surprised I managed to sit still for that long. But they both did a brilliant job. I looked like a proper 1920s lady.

Finally the moment arrived. We all piled into my dad’s Subaru and off we went! I flat-out refused to spend any money on hiring a car when we didn’t need one. We weren’t going anywhere else for the photos/reception and I only had one bridesmaid so it’s not like we needed a limo or anything. It was a bit weird though. I’ve never been one of those girls who plan their wedding to minute detail but I’m pretty sure when I did think about it, it didn’t include rocking up in a Subaru station wagon.

I was about 20 minutes early. Kinda sucks being early to your own wedding and you have to hide from everyone. The plan had been to spend a few moments with Richard before the ceremony started but that was thwarted by a determined photographer who was racing about. So I hid out in the bridal retreat with my bridesmaid and waited for the minute to tick by.

And then we were married. It went by in a flash. The celebrant was funny and put on a real show. Nice things were said about us. We did the obligatory legal bit, exchanged vows and gave each other rings. And that was that – we were married. Well, technically you’re not married until you sign the paperwork but you get the picture. Loads of photos were taken, we didn’t have to climb up the scary spiral staircase to the attic for any because mother nature was kind to us and gave us a beautiful sunny day.

Food was consumed, wine and beer was drunk. The cake was cut. People talked and mingled. There was no dancing (which was a bit of a shame) but we simply ran out of time. It was amazing how quickly the time passed and I didn’t get to talk to nearly as many people as I probably should’ve. Then it was all over and we were whisked away by our photographer to our hotel. Another hours’ worth of photography and then we were finally on our own.

Husband and wife.

I’m still getting my head around the fact that I’m married. Five years ago I was adamant I’d never get married. It just didn’t seem like it was in the cards for me. But now, here I am – a married woman. I have a husband! I must admit I love seeing the wedding band on his finger.

All the movies and tv shows tell us that getting married is supposed instantly fix any problems that you have as a couple and that you’ll be so in love it’s ridiculous. But for me, it feels like nothing is different. We didn’t really have any problems in the first place, I was a rather reluctant bride who was more looking forward to the marriage then the wedding and we were pretty lovey-dovey beforehand. I’m not sure what’s supposed to change or what’s meant to be different now.

It was pointed out during the ceremony that things happened really fast between us and it’s true. We were engaged after about nine months and married at just over two years together. But as the celebrant said – you get to certain age and you’re pretty certain about the things you don’t want in a partner. You have a much better idea of what you’re looking for and if you’re lucky enough to find it, why not get married?

I also think that if we hadn’t gotten married now, we probably wouldn’t have. We’d have been just as happy living together in our house (last time I saw it, it had the frame for the third floor!) and never worried about it. And I think our relationship would’ve been exactly the same. Being married doesn’t change your relationship. If it was shaky beforehand, it’s going to be just as shaky afterwards. If it was solid, it’ll still be solid. Having a nice piece of paper that says you’re legally tied to each other is still just a piece of paper.

The kiss