the wedding lab

Today we have something very exciting to announce…!

In conjunction with Emma Miller (hand-lettering artist & graphic designer, and owner of Pigeon Pie Design), we are launching The Wedding Lab, a workshop aimed at DIY brides/grooms to be, set to take place on Sunday 31 August 2014.

Emma and I have been planning the workshop for some time now after a conversation we had about how so many couples these days were really keen on rolling up their sleeves and taking on wedding-related projects themselves but sometimes didn’t know where to start or became quickly overwhelmed by all the options.  We wanted to create an educational experience that would provide these sorts of couples with the skills to be able to style their own wedding day in a cohesive way.

Combining my styling and planning experience and Emma’s design experience, we’ve created a program which will give participants lots of practical information as well as guidance in hands-on activities including creating an inspiration board and outline of a styling brief, and designing their own stationery.  Our intention is for people to walk away from the workshop equipped with new skills, increased knowledge and the confidence to be able to DIY their wedding, or parts of it, in a way that is manageable and fun.

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to check out the wares and sample the food of some amazing local vendors.  We’ll be announcing our partners and telling you a bit about them on The Wedding Lab blog over the next weeks so stay tuned to the website for more information and make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

If you have any questions or are a vendor who would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Image by CJ Williams Photography

 

 

our weekend away

We just spent a blissful few days down south to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  I love travelling down south in the winter – it’s quieter, more relaxed and there is nothing better than finding somewhere warm and enjoying a glass of red wine.

We stayed at Windmills Break which is one of our favourite places to stay.  There are only 13 rooms and the resort is set on 10 acres of beautiful bushland.  You can hire the whole place out for weddings and other private functions and it is such a gorgeous property, we seriously considered this at the time we were planning our wedding and part of me always wishes we had done it whenever I go back there.

We’ve been lucky to stay in stay at some really nice places down south over the years, but Windmills Break has always stood out for me because of the little touches – the greeting when you arrive which is always friendly and includes them escorting you to your room, the complimentary newspaper slipped underneath your door every morning together with a print out of the weather forecast, the breakfast which is made to order and so much nicer than the usual hotel buffet, the complimentary port and chocolates which you can enjoy in front of the roaring fire, and the way they always offer you a late check out if it’s not too busy without you having to ask for one.

With a pool, heated spa, tennis courts, bar, restaurant, DVD library and walking/jogging trails there really is so much to do that you could quite happily spend your days at the resort.  But it is also in a great location so you can easily explore the surrounding restaurants, wineries, galleries and of course the amazing scenery along the coast.

During our time away we visited many of our old favourites, including the Studio Bistro, The Berry Farm, Providore, Vasse Virgin and Yallingup Galleries, but we also discovered a couple of new places including Dunsborough restaurant Piari & Co which was really lovely.  It’s in a bit of a strange location, surrounded by health practitioners, but it was cosy, warm and the food was so good!  Beef carpaccio is one of my favourite dishes and they did an amazing version.  I followed this with confit duck, another old favourite of mine.  The hubby had a steak which was cooked to perfection and accompanied by the crunchiest onion rings and a salad with the yummiest dressing.  Dessert was a creamy rich crème brulee.  They also scored extra points for making the best Aperol Spritz I’ve had in WA.  [On our first night in Venice during our trip last year we wandered down to a local restaurant and were waiting in the bar area for a table to become available when we noticed everyone (including men) drinking this fluorescent looking drink in a wine glass.  Wanting to have the authentic local experience we asked for "what they're having" which turned out to be an aperitif made of Aperol, prosecco, soda and orange.  It became our regular pre-dinner drink and anytime I see it on a menu now I am compelled to order it, notwithstanding that it costs four times the amount it did in Venice!]

So most of our weekend was spent eating and drinking, as is normally the case when we are down south.  But we also did a bit of exploring and the hubby took some great photos.  Here are just a few – the first is on the beautiful walking trail at Windmills Break and the others are at a beach near Eagle Bay where we had our engagement session a few years ago.  Now I’m just trying to figure out when we can find a weekend when we are both free to sneak away again…

Windmills Break 1untitledYallingup 2Images by Daniel Berk

happy birthday hubby

Gosh birthdays seem to come around quick these days!  It seems like only yesterday it was my husband’s birthday and now here we are again – another year has passed.

I always look back on my own birthday and think about what I’ve done in the last year.  Since Dan’s last birthday he’s done a lot including travelling around Europe for 3 months and taking up photography lessons, so I think he probably feels that it’s been a good and productive year.  Hopefully the next one will be just as eventful!

Happy birthday to my hubby, my best friend and biggest supporter xxx

K+D_191Image by Jonathan Wherrett

 

 

something blue {shoes}

It’s been a while since my last “Something Blue” post but I just haven’t come across anything blue that caught my eye, until today.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you will know all about my love for Bhldn.  It started when I was planning my wedding and wasn’t able to find the sorts of accessories or décor I was looking for locally.  Although we certainly have more choice here now than we did at that time, I am still just a little bit obsessed with Bhldn and often make purchases from the site of shoes, dresses, accessories and hire items for the business.  I’ve even managed to get a few friends hooked (I apologise to their partners and bank accounts).

Today I was browsing through their sale items and came across not one but three of the most gorgeous pairs of blue shoes I’ve ever seen.  Looking for a subtle way to add something blue to your wedding outfit?  Well you’d better check these out in Bhldn’s shoe sale.

Shoes

 

french onion soup

I never thought I liked French onion soup.  Then I went to France and realised the reason I thought I didn’t like it was because I’d never really had French onion soup.  Not a real authentic version anyway.  By the end of our trip it was one of my favourite dishes and, on returning to Perth, I was sad at the thought of not being able to pop down to the local bistro and have a bowl of it anytime I wanted.

It’s been sitting in the back of my mind for months, and now that the weather has turned decidedly wintery I thought it was the right time to whip out my apron, grab a bag of onions, and experiment.  I’m about as far from a domestic goddess as you can get, so this was a big step for me, cooking something other than the 5 or 6 dishes that I know I can cook to an edible standard.

But what to cook it in??  Surely French onion soup deserved to be cooked in a heavy stone pot?  I didn’t own one of those.  And what to serve it in?  Surely it wouldn’t taste the same in one of my modern squared bowls – it needed to be dished up in a something more traditional!  So off I dashed to the Myer stocktake sale.

My dreams of cooking this dish in a real Le Creuset pot dissapated quickly.  Yes they were 30% off, but 30% off $600 was still a little more than I wanted to spend on a pot for a dish I might never make again.  So I settled for a solid looking Analon non-stick pot with a clear lid and lifetime warranty.  Still more than I’d ideally like to spend on a pot but not unreasonable.

Then I found a couple of individual casserole dishes with lids – perfect for serving, and oven safe so I could whack them in with the bread and cheese on top to brown it as the recipe required.

I would probably have made half a dozen other purchases but the pot and dishes were weighing me down and I was on my own, so I reluctantly left with only those.

After my kitchen hand (also known as my husband) chopped a kilo of onions for me (I don’t do onions – they make me weep uncontrollably), I went about heating some olive oil (1 tbsp) with a good dose of butter (50g but I admit I did throw in a little bit extra) – the base of any authentic French dish – browning the onions for 10 minutes with the lid on, and then cooking them with some brown sugar (1 tsp) for about 40 minutes on low heat, stirring often, until they caramelised.  Then it was simply a case of adding in some garlic (4 cloves thinly sliced), flour (2 tbsps), thyme, dry white wine (250 ml) and stock (1.3L and it needs to be heated – no I didn’t make my own but maybe next time), and letting it simmer.  And then the best bit of all – topping it with thick slices of beautiful sour dough baguette bought fresh from the markets that morning and grating a generous amount of Gruyere cheese over the top before browning under the grill.

The soup was so easy and it actually turned out surprisingly well for a first try.  Admittedly I went with one of the easier versions of the dish but I intend to experiment with some different recipes as there are so many variations.  Some recipes called for brandy and others for white wine, some for beef stock and others for chicken, some for thyme and others for bay leaves.  I’m sure eventually I’ll find the best one!

It’s not the best looking version I’ve seen but the photos in the books are never realistic are they.  So here you go – a real life shot of what your French onion soup could look like.  (Trust me, yours will probably look better.)

Soup

birthday escape

This weekend my husband and I will be heading down to Yallingup to celebrate his birthday.  (I won’t tell you how old he is..!)

Sneaking away for extended weekends down south is one of our most favourite things to do, especially in winter.  As soon as we’re out of the city, our favourite tunes playing on the iPod, I can feel myself letting go of all that stress I normally carry around.  We spend our days away sleeping in, enjoying breakfast together, going on drives and walks through the most scenic areas, stocking up on our favourite products from our favourite local shops such as Vasse Virgin (you have to try their soaps – amazing) and Providore (the best place for busy people who like to enjoy good home made food), and of course eating lots of beautiful local produce and drinking lots of good red wine.

Each time we are down there we try to eat somewhere new.  This time we’ll be checking out Piari and Co in Dunsborough so stay tuned for more on that.  One of our old favourites is The Studio Bistro so we will be dining there on my husband’s birthday night and I know that’s going to be amazing as usual!

I’ll post next week about our little escape – hopefully we’ll discover some new treasures!

Bunker Bay

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