Sunday, 30 October 2011

Around the world in thirty days... Part I

Before I begin, credit goes to Sarah Bassill for the title of today's blog!

At the end of August we embarked on our second trip back to the UK since our move to Melbourne. We planned 3 weeks travelling around England, followed by a week in Toronto, Canada for the wedding of our Melbourne-besties, Richard and Tamara. All in all, this trip would take us from Melbourne to Singapore, Sinagpore to London, all around England, then London to Toronto, Toronto to LA, and finally LA to Melbourne. We ate, drank, kissed, cried, laughed, shopped, packed, unpacked, repacked, photographed, attended three weddings and planned our own. It felt like we only slept when we got on a plane!

Here are some photos from our trip...

We arrived just in time for Fiona and Alex's wedding. Without these two, this blog wouldn't exist (nor would a lot of things in my life) - because they are the matchmakers behind me and Tom!

We stayed with Tush and Andy for several nights during our stay, and met their pup Veto for the first time!

Next it was home to Poole, to see Mum and Dad! Whilst we were there, we also caught up with Toby & Melissa, and Lucy and the extended Tammam family. I got some shots in with my new camera for Di's three beautiful grand-daughters:

We also visited Valerie and Aubrey but I don't have a photo collage for that I'm afriad!

We checked out Compton Acres as a potential wedding venue... and two weeks later ended up booking it and back there with our wedding photographer! Here are the amateur snaps:

And here is a snippet of the professional shots:

You can see more of our 'pre wedding' shoot at Mister Phill's Website.

We made a trip up to Sandleheath to see Grandma, and had a long awaited Pizza Express lunch with Emma, Marc, Jake and Daisy - we miss Pizza Express a lot whilst we are in Oz, but obviously not as much as I miss this adorable pair:

Next we were off to London, but en route we stopped in to visit Ella, Andy and little Amelie, who has grown up a bit since we last saw her! It happened to be her second birthday, so I thought I'd shown a bit of a 'then' and 'now', to illustrate, mostly to myself (because it makes me feel bad), how much the little ones change whilst we are away:
After a stop through my office in London we caught up with some friends in the pub (again, no photos from this part of the trip, but that is nothing to do with the amount of alcohol consumed!), did lots of shopping, had sushi with Elian on Southbank and I had the pleasure of tea with Dora and Lucy! We stayed with Tush and Andy again, and besides the pleasure of their company, were very excited to have an English Chinese takeaway!!

We waved goodbye to Tush and Andy, accidentally leaving behind my newly purchased facewash (can't buy this brand in Oz!), and accidentally bringing with us a bag of newly purchased maternity wear... oops!

Next was the short drive up to Cheshire (all UK drives are short compared to Aussie distances) to stay with the Wood's for a few days. We had seen them last August when they visited Melbourne, but we were amazed how much Millie, Rosie and Jamie had grown in the past 12 months. We also got to see their new extension and kitchen, which was super impressive, and the second new pup of the trip, Ruby the Schnoodle!

Other highlights of our trip 'up north' were waving Millie off on her first day at high school, going through old photo albums with Anna to catch up on the years before I was part of the family, having two fab personal assistants in the form of Rosie and Millie whilst shopping at the Trafford Centre, and seeing Louise with Benjamin and baby Sophia at Chester Zoo (even it if was raining):

We also saw Patrick and Adelene, and met newest addition, Isobel! Not to try to influence her too much, Tom came bearing clothing for both Norwich City and the Western Bulldogs!

Next stop was Norwich, for a few days with the Lister / Howlett / Shackleton clan, and then with the Woods again too. We had walks in the country and by the river, a big family dinner, lots of photography opportunities and lunch with Marian and Florence. So much happened, that multiple photos are required..

Tom's nieces and nephews amused themselves for hours in the sandpit, but were a bit put off when they thought the wet patches of sad where not from rain, but from cat wee!

Tom's mum, dad, sisters and their offspring:

It was obvious that the youngest, Ellie, is used to be photographed!

Many a meal eaten at this table...

The kids also really embraced Tom's new job, and we had great fun with a studio style shoot and some Western Bulldogs scarves:

Before we left Norwich, the idea was posed by either Claire or Sue (we can't quite remember who), that Tom and I could bring forward our wedding... and there began the craziness of wedding planning...

(to be continued)....

Friday, 28 October 2011

Two years to the day..

It's sad to think it takes as special an occasion as our two year anniversary of arriving in Melbourne for me to write a blog entry, but life has been such a whirlwind of late that I'm afraid the blog has taken rather a back seat. Since the last entry where we brought you up to speed with the Uluru saga, we have made lots more happy memories in Melborne, taken new steps in both of our careers, and also made a second whirlwind trip home to plan the next BIG event in our lives....

Here's just a snippet of the past four months...

In the UK, July brings the school holidays, Wimbledon, Pimms, the odd BBQ and maybe even some sunshine. In Australia however, it brings Christmas in July! This year we gathered with a group of fellow-Northern hemispher-ites and travelled 90 minutes down the coast the Blairgowrie, where a holiday house and food-a-plenty awaited. The Brits cooked a roast on Friday night, and the American's went wild with chilli-dogs on the Saturday night. We played 'Aussie rules' Secret Santa which permits the stealing of other people's gifts (contraversial, but undoubtedly more exciting for spectators), which saw me lose my amazing gift of a stylish water jug, in exchange for a $30 Myer voucher. Four months on, I actually spent the voucher last weekend - on a jumper for Tom! Typical.

Featured in this photo are brussel sprouts (to prove it was a genuine 'Christmas'), and my strawberry pavlova (to prove I can still only make one dessert). Jordan, bottom right, proves greater versitility on the pudding front with her US-flad sheet cake however!

Looking back at my photos from July and August, I don't have much to offer, largely because I spent most of it, day and night, in a windowless room with my calculator and fellow auditors, doing what we do best. I think they put us in a windowless room deliberately, because we can't tell when it gets dark and therefore 'home time' beckons. The hard work and long hours were worth it however, as I got a promotion for my efforts and feel very at home in the Melbourne office. The end of 'busy season' celebration was just as big here as it used to be in my London days, and we had a big dinner followed by a solid karaoke session! I rewarded myself for my hard work not with chocolate (usual reward) but with a new camera (less fattening, particularly when photographing children which requires lots of energy), and found a little bit of time to get in some shoots:

Ben is son to Lou and Sam, our friends and a very willing subject for me!

Whilst I was hard at work, Tom was busy plotting the next big stage in his career - in Aussie Rules Football! He has a new job with the Western Bulldogs as their General Manager for Fan Development, with the objective of building the fan base of the club. As a sports-nut, it's Tom's ideal role, and now one month into the job he is really enjoying it. I'm afraid the Saints will now have to take a backseat and make way for the mighty Doggies!! Here are some photos from an event Tom ran (and I photographed) a couple of weeks ago:

After the madness of August I was really relieved to get on a plane to the UK - not just to see family friends, but simply for 24 hours of travel time where I could do nothing but rest! We had three wonderful weeks at home, and caught up with family and friends. I'm going to have to end this blog here and write about that next time though... but I promise there won't be a four month gap! Until then....