Tuesday, 26 August 2014

DIY wedding bouquets

Our biggest wedding splurge is the reception venue - and with 140 guests it's quite an expense.  So I'm DIY-ing as much as I can.  Not only because it's more cost-effective but also because I love DIY-ing and would get such a kick out of creating things that contributed to my wedding day.

I had heard quotes from florists in the thousands of dollars for wedding flowers.  I don't value flowers enough to pay that kind of money, and thought it might be fairly straight-forward to do it myself.

I youtube-d a few videos to got a decent idea of what's involved.  After purchasing some floral tape and wire from ebay, I paid a visit to the flower markets in Flemington.  I was completely overwhelmed with the flowers - which ones are suitable to put in a bouquet?  Which flowers/colours complement each other?  What am I doing??

So I just bought some white roses, pink roses and these random pink and white spatter roses, along with another random off-white flower (no idea what type of flower this is).  I think I paid $25 for the bunches above so estimate spending less than $100 for 5 bouquets on the day.  I cleaned them up (removed a majority of the leaves, thorns, picked off dead/dirty flower petals) and started building the bouquet.

I started with 3 large white roses in the middle, then filled the gaps with the smaller pink roses.  I continued to build around the outside with the spatter roses and random off-white flowers.  It probably took 5 minutes to build the bouquet.  I dismantled that bouquet and attempted another one with less pink than before.  Then I dismantled that one and did another version.  It was actually pretty fun!

I won't be using the off-white flowers in my bridal bouquets as they drooped really quickly but it's all about trial and error.  My sister attempted a bouquet and it turned out nicely - less pink and more white than mine.

Getting used to holding a bouquet!

I forgot to take pics of the actual bouquets once I bound it with tape, hacked off the ends and wrapped satin around it.  If I do another trial run I'll remember to take said pictures.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Pork and vermicelli noodle salad

This has quickly become a staple dinner in my household.  It is so simple and quick and absolutely delicious.  Before I start I want to make it very clear that you can throw any asian condiment in the frying pan so no need to follow my condiments and quantities exactly.  I've literally made up the composition of the sauce and it changes every time I make this so just make it up according to your taste!


  • 500g pork mince (I used chicken mince once and it tasted like rubbish)
  • 20g vermicelli
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/2 iceberg lettuce
  • sprinkling crushed peanuts
  • mint
  • red chili (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • crushed ginger
  • sesame oil and/or white pepper to taste

  1. Place vermicelli in large salad boil and cover with boiling water as per packet instructions then drain water
  2. Fry ginger with some oil and add mince until brown
  3. Add all condiments to mince - keep tasting until you have perfected it.  Remember it needs to be pretty salty as it's seasoning the entire salad > add to bowl
  4. Chop all veggies > add to bowl
  5. Toss errthing
  6. Sprinkle crushed peanuts, mint and chili
  7. EAT

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Getting serious about Bikram

I've started getting more serious about bikram yoga.  In true Kay style, I bought myself a new mat (my old $7 Kmart yoga mat just didn't cut it anymore) and a strap (pink, duh!) to make it easier to carry.

I tried the 3mm Lululemon mat but it was too thin for me so I got the normal one instead (5mm) which provides a lot more cushioning for my tush!

These are the main things I have learnt through doing bikram:
  • It's important to get the foundations right - previously I had been pushing myself to complete each pose perfectly even though I was 'cheating' and not straightening my standing leg, or straightening the leg but not touching the knee with my forehead.  I also learnt how some poses are meant to be executed and once I started doing it properly I stopped getting knee pain.
  • Water water water - the first few classes I took a normal water bottle and 20 mins into the class I was drinking warm water (gross) so I bought myself a Thermos double-walled water bottle:

  • Don't wear cotton - after completing the class you are completely drenched in sweat.  Cotton clothes just stick to you and make you feel so uncomfortable.  I've started wearing compression wear which dries almost instantly.  Much more comfortable.
  • Further to my previous point, tight clothes are the best option.  You can't really see the shapes you are making in the mirror if you wear baggy clothes.  
  • Relax during the savasana - there is a reason why you give you breaks lying down; use them.
  • If it's your first few classes try and stay in the room - it might be hot and humid but lying down on your mat in the room is much better than running out.  Not only for you but also for your fellow yogis.

What are your bikram yoga tips?

Monday, 18 August 2014

If you love a good soy candle...

You must visit Tanda.  I was lucky enough to win a soy candle of my choice in their instagram competition but I had heard so much amazingness about them that I also purchased a second candle.  A few days later a large 'fresh linen' and a medium 'lychee and black tee' candle landed in my lap.

The Lychee and Black Tea smells delicious without smelling sickly sweet (Glasshouse Tahaa I'm looking at you).  It burns absolutely beautifully and the medium is probably best for a small-medium sized room.  

I wasn't expecting to love Fresh Linen as much I do.  It just smells fresh and clean.  I feel like my apartment is cleaner when I burn this candle.  For serious.  The large size of this candle is my perfect for my open-plan living room.

Both scents are incredibly light and just smell so clean, although my absolute favourite thing about Tanda candles is hands-down the wood wick.  You can hear the crackling of the moisture in the wood and it reminds me of those old-school fireplaces.  You can also smell the burning wood which is such a reassuring feeling.

You can get Tanda candles for 12% off until this Friday 22nd August using the code 'VOGUETTESFORTANDA'.  Do yourself a favour and grab yourself a Tanda candle (or two).

* this is not a sponsored post.  These candles really are the business.

Monday, 11 August 2014

DIY wedding - tip #101

My best friend has a wedding stationery business on the side so she was the first person I went to after I got engaged as she has experienced a lot of weddings through her business.  Her first tip to me was

Make a colour swatch of your chosen wedding colours and keep it in your wallet.
She took me to Spotlight and I chose some satin ribbon in our chosen wedding colours and also in the width proportional to our colours.  Our main colour is a dark navy, our secondary colour is silver/grey and then our highlight colour is fuchsia.

I actually used this when I was buying bridesmaids dresses and the navy matches perfectly!!!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Cambodian people are beautiful

Today I read in the paper that the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime had been sentenced and it made me reflect on my trip to Cambodia in 2007.  I was fresh out of uni and had been working as an IT Grad for 6 months.  I wanted to go overseas because I had more money in my bank account than ever before.

I originally wanted to go to Thailand because, why not?  Aussies seemed to be flying there in drones so there must be something attractive right?  Then I detoured by Vietnam and Cambodia before flying home.  Ironically I hated Thailand (Phuket, to be fair) and absolutely fell in love with Cambodia and her people.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was just so shocking.  This was one of the many prison camps during the dark years of the late 70s in Phnom Penh.  They would hold prisoners here and torture them for information.  I saw the cells/rooms where people were tortured, devices such as ankle shacks and bare bedframes.

The Khmer Rouge would use heinous methods of interrogation including pulling out fingernails, waterboarding, rape, hanging, knifing and beating.  There were pictures of prisoners against the walls, most of them badly beaten with a deadness in their eyes.  I could almost feel their pain and started feeling really sick so went into the front yard for some fresh air.  Then I just burst out crying, saddened for this generation of humans who had been through so much.

One of two known living survivors of this prison camp

We then headed over to the Killing Fields which was used to kill and dispose of the bodies from the various prison camps.  It was so confronting to see mass pits where hundreds of bodies were disrespectfully thrown on top of each other, to see trees where babies were allegedly thrown up against to kill them, and to walk around in dirt that had bones everywhere.

What I assume are human bones are all over the ground

(apologies for the awful photos, these were the days of point and shoot cameras)

After Phnom Penh we hopped over to Siem Reap where a trip to the Angkor Wat was mandatory.  Sunrise at the Angkor Wat with the striking silhouette is an amazing experience and worth doing if you can.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

"Attractions" aside, I found the people of Cambodia to be such amazingly beautiful souls, especially considering the brutal recent history of their country.  We had a tuktuk driver who dropped us off but not before walking us through the masses of people to where we wanted to go.  The impoverished mother and child literally sitting on the road who didn't beg or hassle foreigners as they walked past (in stark contrast to the mother in Thailand who dressed her child up in ridiculous gold chains then tried to charge us money for taking a photo of him - sick).  The gorgeous little boy who came up and drew a picture in my lap as I was getting ready to leave the orphanage .

Me with the taxi driver.  (on a side note check out my blonde hair)

Getting back to my opening statement - I am so relieved and so happy for the people of Cambodia that 'justice' has been served and hopefully they have the closure they need to close this painful chapter of their history and move on.  (I say 'justice' because the main leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, committed suicide in 1998 and avoided any prosecution.  Others legitimately passed away and the few that were sentenced today have lived the past 4 decades in civilian life as they were only arrested 7 years ago).

 Beautiful Cambodian children

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My Hot Air Balloon experience

I had originally wanted to do something crazy like skydive.  Skydiving was definitely on my bucket list when I was 18.  Since then I have become a decade older and committed to marry a Risk Manager so I swapped skydiving for hot air ballooning.

My cousins gave us a Red Balloon voucher when we got engaged and there was no hesitation to book us into a Hot Air Balloon experience.  We took advantage of the Bank Holiday to spend Sunday night up in the Hunter.

Sunday was spent wine tasting and eating cheese.  And eat cheese I did.  Lots of it.  So much so that now on Tuesday I am still feeling sick and bloated from eating too much cheese on Sunday afternoon.  That's what happens when lactose intolerant people consume too much lactose.  Need to get myself to a pharmacy to get some lactase.  Anyway I digress.....

Yoshi, our pilot, inside the baloon!

So cold it mandated a beanie


Monday was a 5am alarm and a 5:45am start.  We met at Petersons Winery to check in and drove to the field where we took off.  The balloon took 4 men and a huge-ass fire about 45 minutes to set up.  We jumped into the basket and we were off!

There was another company flying at the same time as us so I was lucky enough to get photos of their balloon.  It's breath-taking being up that high in the sky and being able to see clearly 360 degrees around you (unlike being in a plane).  Feeling the wind brush past your face, looking down to see the white 4WD that drove you in get smaller and smaller and then vanish completely.

As the sun rose it started to get a tad warmer and the shadows it made were amazing.

Our balloon's shadow with a mini rainbow surrounding us

It was actually really interesting seeing how the pilot navigated our way through.  Hot air balloons are truly at the mercy of the wind; all the pilot can control is how up or down we go but sideways movements are dictated by the wind.

It actually took us an extra 20 minutes to land because only certain open fields are available for landing (they are all private properties so permission needs to be sought from the owner).

We eventually landed, packed up the balloon and headed for Petersons Winery where we indulged in a champagne before/with breakfast.

A few quick wine tastings before we jumped back in the car and headed back to Sydney!